Monday, May 27, 2024

How To Start A Petition Against The Government

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How To Organize An Effective Petition Campaign

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A petition is a simple yet effective tool in advocacy. With just a little bit of effort, you can generate attention and momentum around an issue, grow your list of advocates, and pressure lawmakers to act. Plus, a petition helps you raise your states or branchs visibility and gain new members!

Below are best practices for collecting signatures on your petition, both online and offline. As always, you can reach out to AAUWs public policy and government relations staff for additional help at .

Other Ways To Petition The Government

Though the Obama administration was the first to allow Americans to petition the government through an official U.S. government website, other countries had already allowed such activities online.

The United Kingdom, for example, operates a similar system called e-petitions. That country’s system requires citizens to collect at least 100,000 signatures on their petition on their online petitions before they can be debated in the House of Commons.

The major political parties in the United States also allow Internet users to submit suggestions that are directed to members of Congress. There are also many privately run website that allow Americans to sign petitions that are then forwarded to members of the House of Representatives and Senate.

Government Responses To Petitions

The Standing Orders require the government to respond within 45 calendar days to every petition presented in the House of Commons.

You, the supporters, the signatories, and the Member of Parliament who authorized the online publication of the e-petition will be notified by e-mail when the response is tabled in the House. A copy will also be found on the petitions website along with the original petition.

In the event that the government fails to respond to a petition within 45 calendar days, the matter of the governments failure to respond is automatically referred to the standing committee designated by the MP who presented the petition. Within five sitting days of such a referral, the Chair of the committee must convene a meeting to consider the matter.

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Creating A Petition Format And Content

Now that you have created an account, you may begin to draft a petition. A standardized template to assist you in your drafting is provided on the website see also Appendix A Sample Format for an Electronic Petition below. Please note the following guidelines for composing the text of a petition:


The petition must be addressed to one of the following:

  • the House of Commons or the House of Commons in Parliament assembled
  • the Government of Canada
  • a Minister of the Crown or
  • a Member of the House of Commons.


When creating a new petition, you will need to compose a text of no more than 250 words. The text of a petition is essentially a request, also called a prayer, that the addressee take or to avoid some concrete action in order to remedy a grievance.

The petition may also include a more detailed description of the grievance or a statement of opinion, but these alone cannot be received as a petition a concrete, specific request must be included. The request must be clear and to the point, and phrased as a request and not as a demand.

The text of your e-petition may not include a URL, any other link or web-based reference. Any petition that includes such links will be rejected.


Subject of the Petition

Federal jurisdiction

The petition must concern a subject that is within the authority of the Parliament of Canada, the House of Commons, or the Government of Canada. A petition must not concern a purely provincial or municipal matter.

The Government’s Response To A Petition

Sample Petition Letter To Government

The government must file a response within 24 sitting days of the presentation of the petition. They give the response to the Clerk and the MPP who presented the petition.

The Clerk keeps an index of petitions that are presented during the parliamentary session. The index includes:

  • a short description of the subject of the petition
  • the date the petition was presented
  • the MPP who presented the petition
  • the date the Clerk received a response to the petition

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Using Local Press And Social Media For Support

  • 1Use the Internet and social media. If a member of your group is particularly adept at using social media, you may be able to create an online petition. This would serve to bring wider attention to your issue. It also can reach many people much more quickly than physical contact with volunteers.XResearch source
  • For example, Facebook provides useful materials about creating and marketing an online petition. It provides links to features that help you create a petition, share it with a wide audience, and collect e-signatures without ever having to speak directly with anyone.
  • 2Understand the acceptance of e-signatures. Depending on the breadth of your audience and the topic of your petition, an online petition may not be useful. You should check with your local government leaders to find out if they will accept virtual e-signatures from an online petition.
  • 3Write editorial letters to the local newspaper. When you know of specific dates that you will be conducting your signature drive, you should notify the local paper. A letter to the editor can both generate support for your issue and advertise your signature drive. Provide information that will help the public find your information stations and that will make them want to sign your petition.
  • How To Write A Strong Petition

    Online petitions and letter writing campaigns are key tools for online organizing. You can use these tools to put pressure on a decision maker, find and recruit new members to join your group, or show the breadth of your supporters.

    Of course, not every petition has to put pressure on a decision makeryou can also have a petition thats core purpose is to find and recruit supporters who care about your issue. For example, you could have a petition for a clean, renewable energy future, and then follow up with the people who sign your petition to come to a meeting on how you get your town to pass a resolution to go 100% renewable.

    The tips on this page focus on writing a strong petition and letter writing campaign that does put pressure on a decision maker. Of course, youll want to combine a petition with on-the-ground action like a petition delivery or press conference so that your decision maker feels the pressure!

    Core Elements of Writing a Strong Petition
    Action Network

    Action Network is the top online organizing tool we recommend. The samples shown here were made on Action Network. Because you want to use these online actions to build your list at the same time, you want to make sure you can keep all the dataand online petition sites like dont let you collect and keep the information on who signs. We can help you get set up on Action Network. Learn more and get started.

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    How To Promote Your Petition

    How you promote your petition will have a critical influence on the outcome of your campaign.

    • Combine your e-campaign with a paper campaign and synchronize your signature lists. Thus you may bring your petition to events where you expect there will be people who support it and can sign on the spot.
    • Follow up: It is important because it demonstrates that there is real commitment behind the signatures. Contact your supporters. This will make your campaign both progressive and viral. For example, encourage signatories to write, call, or visit MPs to explain why they signed the petition.
    • Ask your target to respond to your petition within 45 calendar days of its presentation. If this fails to occur, then follow the matter up with someone to whom the target is accountable.
    • Contact media groups with an explanation of your campaign.
    • Pump your social networks in a responsible way. Speak from the heart and don’t spam. If your cause has value, it will go viral.
    • Try to minimize the use of critical language when you promote. Use sound arguments rather than pejorative attacks which could be considered insulting.
    • Have faith that a just cause is worthy of promoting.

    There are many examples of high quality petitions at GoPetition. So we suggest that you read some of our more popular petitions and use these as templates before you create your petition. For further advice on how to write a petition, don’t hesitate to contact us.

    Be The Voice Of Change

    Taita Taveta governor petitions to dissolve county government

    With a thoroughly-developed petition in hand, you’re ready to go out there and be the voice of change. Don’t allow yourself to get disheartened if people don’t immediately jump on board. Rather, be armed with additional resources that back your claim. Although you may not garner a signature from someone right away, they may come back around to support you after further investigation.

    Have you ever had success with a local petition? If so, feel free to join the conversation in the comments section below!

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    Helpful Tips For Petitioners

    • You are strongly encouraged to contact potential supporters and an MP beforehand to determine that they are likely to accept an invitation to support the petition or to authorize its online publication. While you need a minimum of five supporters to start off with, it is a good idea to provide the names of more than five potential supporters in case one or more of them declines or fails to respond.
    • Whether the MP accepts or rejects your invitation to authorize the online publication of the e-petition, he or she may have suggestions to make to you concerning the form or content of your petition. This guidance should be taken seriously, since defects as to form and content may lead to your petition being rejected.

    What It Means To Petition The Government

    The right of Americans to petition the government is guaranteed under the Constitution’s First Amendment.

    The Obama administration, acknowledging the importance of the right, said: “Throughout our nation’s history, petitions have served as a way for Americans to organize around issues that matter to them, and tell their representatives in government where they stand.”

    Petitions played important roles, for example, in ending the practice of enslavement and guaranteeing women the right to vote.

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    How To Create A Petition With Instant Access Now

    GoPetition has advanced edit software that allows you to add updates, news items, photos, videos and other material to your petition at any time. You may also link to your website from your petition. A free forum facility is also provided with every petition.

    Electronic Petitions Guide To Creating And Submitting A Petition

    12+ Sample Petition Template

    Every petition begins as an idea and progresses through several stages on its way to being signed and presented in the House of Commons for response from the government. If you have an idea for a petition on a matter that is important to you, this guide will help you to get started and to navigate the process for submitting an electronic petition.

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    Create A Form For Signatures

    With all your information intact, it’s time to create the actual form people will sign. This can be done in a word processor or spreadsheet.

    Begin with a cell for people to sign, and then arrange further cells to the right for their printed name, address, and telephone number. This will be crucial later on down the line because it will prove all your signees live in the area that will be impacted by the decision.

    Instructions For Filing Petitions

  • Do not hurt your own petition: Check the fact sheets provided for the type of petition you wish to pursue.1 Please ask questions.
  • Jurisdiction: Determine whether your petition addresses a contest that takes place in a single county or if your petition will affect multiple counties or the entire state In rare instances, a petition will be submitted to a different reviewing authority. If you are uncertain, please ask!
  • Complete a petition request form: This ensures your petition drive will be conducted correctly and that the petition itself will be processed efficiently. With the exception of unaffiliated judicial petitions,2 a petition that affects a contest within one county will be handled by that county. Submit this request form to that county. Access a directory for county boards of election. If the petition affects a contest that crosses county lines or affects the entire state, submit the petition request form to the State Board of Election at this email address: .
  • Collect signatures: Use the recommended signature collection forms appropriate to your petition to simplify the process for yourself, the signers, and staff who must verify signatures. You can receive those forms from your county board of elections or the State Board of Elections. You will be gathering the signatures of qualified voters who reside in the applicable county or counties. Remember:
  • No one may sign a petition on behalf of another person.
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    What Your Contribution Supports

    Influence over decision makers

    Two 11-year old Calgary students started out with a science project about plastic waste. With help from, their project grew into an international campaign asking Starbucks to reduce their impact on the environment. After collecting over 340,000 signatures, their campaign influenced Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson to invest $10 million USD to develop a fully recyclable and compostable cup.

    Two 11-year old Calgary students started out with a science project about plastic waste. With help from, their project grew into an international campaign asking Starbucks to reduce their impact on the environment. After collecting over 340,000 signatures, their campaign influenced Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson to invest $10 million USD to develop a fully recyclable and compostable cup.

    Expert campaign advice is more than a website. We help people and their communities win by providing them with world-class campaigning, media, and activism coaching. Join us as a member, and youll help us continue this work.

    With support from our campaigns team, a group of young activists delivered over 1 million signatures calling on Californias judicial system to deliver justice to survivors of sexual assault.

    With support from our campaigns team, a group of young activists delivered over 1 million signatures calling on Californias judicial system to deliver justice to survivors of sexual assault.

    Better activism technology

    How To Write A Petition

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    Write your petition now or read on…

    Writing a petition is not as difficult as you might think. Many campaigners have reported success stories with GoPetition after using our powerful platform. For great campaign results you need to take into account a number of issues: identifying your target, proper research, clear communication and how you will promote your petition.

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    Logical Structure And Concise Communication

    A quality petition will show a clear structure. It will normally have a section for background information called “the preamble” followed closely by the body of the petition which contains the “core petition text” and is the exact call for action – the request – that signers will be asked to support. Make sure that you use a well structured petition template that:

    describes the situation,

    suggests what is needed and why, and

    provides a concise and logical call to action – or refrain – the request.

    Be clear and concise with your petition text. Don’t clutter your petition with information or requests that have no essential connection to the main message. Read over your petition carefully.

    There are many examples of excellent and well written petitions at GoPetition, so we suggest that you read some of the more popular petitions and use these as templates before you create a petition.

    Conducting A Petition Drive

  • 1Determine your goals for gathering signatures. Based on your local rules for petition drives and the size of your community, you will need to establish goals and expectations for gathering names. As a general rule, you should aim to collect up to 50% more names than the minimum requirement.XTrustworthy SourceKansas University Center for Community Health and DevelopmentCommunity-based research center focused on supporting public health development and educationGo to source
  • 2Get plenty of volunteers to help collect signatures. You cannot expect to conduct a successful petition drive on your own. Determine the number of signatures that you need, and then calculate a reasonable number for each person to collect. Using these figures, you can decide how many volunteers you will need for the petition drive.XTrustworthy SourceKansas University Center for Community Health and DevelopmentCommunity-based research center focused on supporting public health development and educationGo to source
  • For example, suppose you decide that you want 5,000 signatures for a successful petition drive. A single volunteer might be expected to bring in 500 signatures over the length of your petition drive. This means that you should get at least ten people to help collect signatures.
  • If your petition is directed to a particular department of your local government, you may be directed to deliver your final copies directly to that department.
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    Petition States As Follows:


    WE, THE UNDERSIGNED CITIZENS OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, hereby petition the Congress of the United States to undertake all necessary and proper actions to impeach Joseph Biden, Jr. for high crimes against the people of the United States and remove him from the office of President of the United States.

    From 2009 to 2017, while occupying the office of vice-president under Barack Hussein Obama, Biden abused and defiled his position as the 2nd highest official in the United Stated government, betraying his most solemn duties, his oath of office, and his loyalty to the United States of America in service to the illicit enrichment of himself and his immediate family members.

    In addition to breaching public integrity in the most grave possible manner, Biden perpetrated these criminal abuses of his office at substantial risk to, if not to the significant detriment of, the national security of the United States. Moreover, all costs attributable to Bidens actions while vice-president which were not legal, legitimate activities of that office, but instead constituted Bidens criminal abuse of it in furtherance of Biden family enrichment schemes, have been nonetheless born by U.S. taxpayers.

    Bidens actions in these schemes amount to impeachable crimes against the United States.

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