Freedom of Petition

In many democratic nations around the world, the "Freedom of petition" (or "Right to Petition") exists to assist individuals, groups of citizens and corporations to lobby for laws and policies they support.

"Freedom of Petition" (USA) Specifics

In the United states, the right to petition (or Freedom of Petition) is guaranteed by the First Amendment to the Constitution, and it specifically prohibits Congress from abridging "the right of the people ... to petition the Government for redress of grievances." Its roots within the colonies can be traced back to the Declaration of Independence (For information on the olive branch petition, please click here).

Historically the right can be traced back to English documents such as the Magna Carta, which, by its acceptance by the monarchy, implicitly affirmed the right. Later the Bill of Rights 1689 explicitly declared the "right of the subjects to petition the king".

While the prohibition of abridgement of the right to petition originally referred only to the federal legislature (the Congress) and courts, the incorporation doctrine later expanded the protection of the right to its current scope, over all state and federal courts and legislatures and the executive branches of the state and federal governments. The right to petition includes under its umbrella basic "lobbying". For example, in January 2007, the U.S. Senate considered S. 1, an omnibus "ethics reform" bill. This bill contained a provision (Section 220) to establish federal regulation, for the first time, of certain efforts to encourage "grassroots lobbying."

The bill said that 'grassroots lobbying' means the voluntary efforts of members of the general public to communicate their own views on an issue to Federal officials or to encourage other members of the general public to do the same.

This provision to regulate lobbying was opposed by a broad array of organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Right to Life Committee, and the National Rifle Association. On January 18, 2007, the U.S. Senate voted 55-43 to strike Section 220 from the bill. However, other proposed regulations on 'grassroots lobbying' remained under consideration by the 110th Congress.

General information: Governments and Parliaments Globally

GoPetition hosts many petitions written to governments and parliaments. Many jurisdictions throughout the world now recognize internet petitions. For example, 10 Downing Street, UK, accepts electronic petitions as long as each petition complies with basic content requirements. In the USA, statutory requirements vary federally and from state to state.

In Scotland, e-Petitioner (a parliamentary service) has introduced internet petition formats and protocols. Similarly, in Queensland, Australia, internet petitions to parliament have been sanctioned if a Member of Parliament sponsors the relevant e-petition. Please note that petitions addressed to the European Parliament require signers to indicate nationality and job.

The increasing acceptance of internet petitions by governments and parliaments worldwide makes GoPetition an ideal partner for your campaign. Our services can be used for any petition addressed to government at a local, county, state or national level or even internationally (for example, the UN). GoPetition has many examples of well written petitions to a variety of local, state and national governments and parliaments and also to the United Nations (UN).

The status of e-signatures

The status of electronic signatures (e-signatures) is undergoing major change and development in many Western jurisdictions. The law of electronic signatures is in its infancy. In these circumstances, we at GoPetition provide for the collection of a variety data fields to provide as much flexibility as possible for each petition author. We provide custom software so you can build your own fields and collect the data you need and want.

GoPetition aims to keep up to date with the latest trends and requirements for internet petitions and e-signatures while also providing a customized experience for our campaigners, partners and signers.

GoPetition - A leading global petition hosting service is a free online petition hosting service. The freedom of petition is a basic human right, and a way to change the world. If you wish to learn more about How to write a petition or you wish to start a petition, please click on the highlighted links. Alternatively you can browse current international or United States petitions, or join GoPetition for a range of other useful petition services.

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