Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What does this petition actually do?
Unlike other online petitions every visitor signing can leave comments and send private emails directly to Congress.
This will make your petition more effective because the public and the media can view all the comments in the online petition. Most importantly, your group's emails and letters are sent directly to your elected representatives with your petition text. This combination of an online presence and direct communication to Congress gives your message as much impact as possible.
Is there a cost for signing the petition and sending email?
It is FREE to sign the petition and send emails to Congress.
I need to know that my e-mail and other information is secure.
Who will be the final recipient of this petition? How long does it take?
After people sign a public petition, they have an option of also sending emails and printed letters to Congress. Most signers do that. The emails are delivered shortly thereafter (depending on how busy the servers are) and the letters usually the next business day. It can take time for Congressional staff to process the incoming emails and letters-- sometimes a week or longer, depending on the office and the overall volume of mail they are receiving.
For some petitions, the petition organizers will also export and independently deliver the petition as a whole to further reinforce the message.
Why isn't my issue front page, headline news? How can we spread the word about a petition?
The best way to publicize a petition is to share the links with your friends and in online communities, and provide the link and background information to bloggers, newspapers, and reporters, and ask them to publicize it as well. Sites like Digg.com also allow you to submit the link and "vote" for it, which raises the visibility.
It takes time and effort-- there are many issues and campaigns all competing for very limited public attention.
Who is Rally Congress?
Rally Congress is an online petition system created by a non-partisan technology company dedicated to helping people and groups communicate more effectively with elected officials. You can learn more about us here: https://www.rallycongress.com
Is there a signature, age, or voter registration requirement to get a petition to Congress?
There are no actual requirements for a successful petition (or email) to Congress. On this general topic the First Amendment states simply:
"Congress shall make no law [...] abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
There is never any voter registration or other requirement on the right to petition-- it is in the Bill of Rights!
Having said that, we do take steps to make every petition campaign effective.
The Rally Congress system has both the public online petition, and after the visitor signs the petition, a process that lets people email their letters directly to their member of Congress. In order for those emails to be effective, we do collect full name, address and email information and relay that with the letters. That reassures Congress that there are real people behind the petition, and gives elected officials a way to contact people with a response.
I'm an overseas stationed military member, the petition won't allow me to put in my military address.
First, thank you for your service to our nation.
Unfortunately, overseas military addresses don't let us know which member of Congress to deliver your email to, because we can't tell who officially represents you in Congress. For the purpose of the petition, it is best to use a stateside address, for example the state that you vote in, or were deployed from.