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Published November 12 2012

Petition requests permission for North Dakota to secede from U.S.

FARGO – After the events of last week’s election, some people apparently want out.

Residents of 22 states, including North Dakota, had filed petitions on the White House’s official petitions website seeking permission to secede from the United States, as of Monday afternoon.

Most, including the North Dakota petition, appear to be cookie cutters of one another, asking the OK from President Barack Obama’s administration to withdraw peacefully and form a new government. Most do not give specific reasons, instead quoting the Declaration of Independence.

The North Dakota petition, which has about 4,300 electronic signatures, follows that template. It was created by someone identified only as “C R” from Grand Forks. Signers do not have to give their full names.

The vast majority of the signatures appear to be from out of state, and many of the same names appear on similar petitions for other states.

Sixteen of the states with petitions up voted against Obama in last week’s election, though a few, like Oregon, New York and New Jersey, were firmly in the president’s column.

The petition site currently has 70 publicly visible petitions seeking action on a wide range of topics.

Some address relatively mainstream causes, like drone strikes, the legalization of marijuana and the labeling of genetically modified food.

Others are far more off the beaten path, like the regulation of premium cigars and calls for the release of political prisoners in Macedonia.

Petitions are nonbinding, but those that gather enough signatures – typically 25,000 within 30 days – get responses from the administration. In recent months, those have ranged from policy statements on certain issues to the release of the White House beer recipe.

Of the current secession petitions, only one, from Texas, has gathered enough signatures to qualify.

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