Online petition

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The online petition (also: e-petition ) describes a way of submitting a petition over the Internet.

Federal Republic of Germany

German Bundestag

Since 2005 it has been possible to submit online petitions to the German Bundestag using a special formal procedure.

The German Bundestag distinguishes between two types of online petitions: individual petitions and public petitions, which other people can sign.

See: Petitions Committee of the German Bundestag

German state parliaments

In the meantime, all the parliaments of the federal states have introduced the electronic submission method for petitions.

In the Brandenburg state parliament, the use of an e-mail procedure is required “that makes the petitioner personally identifiable”.

The Bremen citizenship (since 2010), the state parliament of Rhineland-Palatinate (since 2011), the state parliament Schleswig-Holstein and the Thuringian state parliament also know the institution of the public petition, which can be signed online. With the exception of the Schleswig-Holstein Landtag and the Thuringian Landtag, public petitions can also be discussed in an online forum.

In Thuringia, the quorum for a collective petition is 1,500 signatures.

See also: Petition procedure in the German federal states


In Austria, citizens can approve parliamentary citizens' initiatives in the National Council and petitions in the National Council and the Federal Council online.

Citizens can also submit statements on ministerial drafts or approve statements that have already been submitted.


In Switzerland, petitions can be submitted to the municipal, cantonal or federal authorities. There are two ways of doing this: petition sheet and online petition.


The European Parliament's Committee on Petitions offers an electronic form.

Private online petitions in own organization

Non-official online petitions have no legal effect and are often not addressed to parliaments or their petitions committees.

Like the open letter or the appeal , it is also a public relations tool . The petition is aimed at companies, political parties, parliaments or other institutions and asks them to do or not to do something. Whether the collected signatures are physically handed over appears secondary, in other words: it is usually sufficient for the recipient to know how many people have signed the call.

Who an online petition "signing" does this either by e-mail to the petitioner or by entering his name and e-mail address on a Web page . The latter makes the signature clearer (for example, "Karl Müller, Munich" is not clear without an e-mail address) and more credible (the recipient of the petition could write randomly to signatories to find out whether they actually signed).

The effect of unofficial online petitions is controversial, not least because the validity of the signatures is difficult to control. E-mail petitions often fail because the recipient addresses automatically filter out the often standardized e-mails. On the other hand, the concern can be spread quickly via the Internet. In 2005, for example, a television viewer achieved through his online petition that the television broadcaster ProSieben re-included the series (9 episodes) " My new friend ", which had been discontinued due to low audience ratings .

A special form of online petition is the one where the signatures are publicly visible. The following example may be mentioned: On May 20, 2010, priests and lay people from the Diocese of Augsburg published the so-called “Pentecost Declaration” on the Internet, which was signed by 4,132 people by June 30, around 800 of them on the first day. Four weeks before the declaration, Walter Mixa (until then Bishop of Augsburg) had resigned.

Signers in open lists show moral courage because they accept possible professional disadvantages or hostility in the professional environment.

Non-official online petition by private platform providers

Non-governmental organizations like Campact often use a combination of traditional signature collection or letter or postcard campaigns with the methods of an online petition for important issues. Avaaz achieved success with online campaigns against the planned legislative proposals SOPA (over 3.4 million signatures) and ACTA (over 2.3 million).

Even if it is fundamentally in the interest of an enlightened, democratic society to be informed about relevant issues by non-governmental organizations and to be involved in decision-making, critics criticize the superficial way in which this is done with the help of the new media and refer to this with the terms Clicktivism and Slacktivism .

The platforms of private providers include:


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Lars Sobiraj: Interview with the Petitions Committee of the German Bundestag. In:, May 14, 2013
  2. Landtag Brandenburg - Instructions for submitting a petition. Retrieved August 18, 2016 .
  3. Information on public petitions with the Bremen citizenship
  4. Information on public petitions with the Bremen citizenship
  5. Information on the public petition at the Landtag Schleswig-Holstein ( Memento from January 10, 2016 in the Internet Archive )
  6. Information on public petitions at the Thuringian Parliament. Retrieved August 18, 2016 .
  7. cf. total Riehm et al. 2013, p. 109 ff.
  11. Form Petitions Committee of the European Parliament ( Memento from November 15, 2013 in the Internet Archive )
  12. ^ Andreas Winterer : Online petition platforms. - Comparison of effectiveness, reliability and data protection. In: , accessed on April 11, 2015
  13. ( Memento from November 23, 2016 in the Internet Archive )
  14. After Mixa's resignation - Church newspaper denies Mixa's guilt. In: , May 26, 2010, accessed April 1, 2017
  17. You will not guess - "Avaaz" are not "The good guys". In: , accessed June 2016
  18. Lars Soribaj: Clicktivism: Four providers of online petitions under the magnifying glass. In: , April 15, 2013
  19. ^ Lars Sobiraj: The campaign network Avaaz in the gulli: Interview. In:, April 15, 2013
  20. Lars Sobiraj: The petition platform in the gulli: Interview. In:, April 22, 2013
  21. Lars Sobiraj: openPetition im gulli: Interview. In:, April 24, 2013