Data

Face-to-Face, Online, or Both?
Both
Typical Purpose
Make, influence, or challenge decisions of government and public bodies
Make, influence, or challenge decisions of private organizations
Spectrum of Public Participation
Inform
Links
The Citizen Initiative Petition to Amend State Constitutions: A Concept Whose Time Has Passed, or a Vigorous Component of Participatory Democracy at the State Level
Petitions Systems: Contributing to Representative Democracy?
Understanding the “e‐petitioner”
Open to All or Limited to Some?
Open to All
Recruitment Method for Limited Subset of Population
Not Applicable
Number of Participants
There is no limit to the number of people who can participate
Types of Interaction Among Participants
Express Opinions/Preferences Only
Facilitation
No
Decision Methods
Not Applicable
Scope of Implementation
No Geographical Limits
Level of Polarization This Method Can Handle
Not polarized
Level of Complexity This Method Can Handle
Low Complexity

METHOD

Petition

Face-to-Face, Online, or Both?
Both
Typical Purpose
Make, influence, or challenge decisions of government and public bodies
Make, influence, or challenge decisions of private organizations
Spectrum of Public Participation
Inform
Links
The Citizen Initiative Petition to Amend State Constitutions: A Concept Whose Time Has Passed, or a Vigorous Component of Participatory Democracy at the State Level
Petitions Systems: Contributing to Representative Democracy?
Understanding the “e‐petitioner”
Open to All or Limited to Some?
Open to All
Recruitment Method for Limited Subset of Population
Not Applicable
Number of Participants
There is no limit to the number of people who can participate
Types of Interaction Among Participants
Express Opinions/Preferences Only
Facilitation
No
Decision Methods
Not Applicable
Scope of Implementation
No Geographical Limits
Level of Polarization This Method Can Handle
Not polarized
Level of Complexity This Method Can Handle
Low Complexity
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Broadly speaking, a petition is an appeal for the redress of grievances sent to an authority, often a government. The right to petition the government is a constitutional right in most modern democracies.

Problems and Purpose

By petitioning a government, an individual often seeks to influence the decisions of policy makers or to bring an issue of public concern to the attention of government officials. It is perhaps the most direct form of citizen participation in policy making and certainly the oldest.[1] 

The right to representation is at the foundation of liberal democracy. Petitions are thus one of the most important ways citizens have to make their voices heard and their desires known. While elections give citizens a say over who will represent them in government, petitions ensure what representatives do aligns with those constituents' interests. While the ability to vote an official out of office gives citizens some measure of control, elections are held infrequently, often every four to five years. Petitions may be submitted at any time, thus giving citizens a relatively unrestricted channel of voice and agency.  

Origins and Development

The petition was first recognized in the Magna Carta (1215).

How it Works

Analysis and Lessons Learned

See Also

Deliberation on Citizen's Petition in China 

Initiative Process 

References

 [1] ed. Marleau, Robert and Montpetit, Camille. Public Petitions. House of Commons Canada Procedure and Practice. Retrieved from http://www.ourcommons.ca/MarleauMontpetit/DocumentViewer.aspx?Language=E... 

External Links

http://www.americaspeaks.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/EPetitionPaperFinal.pdf 

Notes