Column: Online petition websites change world

The Newtonite

by Connor Vasu
Who would have thought that three high schoolers could influence the presidential debates or that a movie studio would bend to pressure from a fourth-grade class?
Online petitions make it easy for petitioners to get signatures for a cause because people from around the world can sign and throw in their support just by visiting a website.

With the rise of online petition websites, such as Change.org, collecting signatures by hand is quickly becoming outdated. Before the internet and online websites, collecting signatures by hand was an arduous process. Now, all it takes is a few clicks, and any person can start an online petition for free, and anyone can sign it just as fast.

Visit the website, or other sites like it, and read the petitions because many of them are for worthy causes, like gay rights, women’s rights and criminal justice.

Recently, three high schoolers, who were outraged that there has not been a female moderator in a presidential debate since 1992, petitioned for a female moderator at this year’s presidential debates.

Due partly to the hundreds of thousands of signatures and national media attention the students received for the cause, Candy Crowley of CNN is moderating the second presidential debate. Without Change.org, it is unlikely that the high schoolers would have achieved their goal.

Likewise, a class of fourth-grade students heard that the movie The Lorax was not going to have environmental themes, and they successfully petitioned for the movie adaptation to have an environmental theme like the book.

Just in the past few months, online petitions have influenced the presidential race, the largest bank in the country and a major movie studio. Now, people all around the world can start and support petitions quickly, which can lead to greater and more frequent petitions.

What are you going to change?