Why is a White House Petition to Save the NEA Not Working?

Curiously, it's not registering new signatures.

US President Donald Trump speaks to staff at the Department of Homeland Security in Washington, DC, on January 25, 2017. Photo NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images.
US President Donald Trump speaks to staff at the Department of Homeland Security in Washington, DC, on January 25, 2017. Courtesy of Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images.

A petition submitted to the White House’s website, calling on the Trump Administration to preserve the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities, is mysteriously failing to register new signatures.

The petition was launched January 21, two days after it emerged that Trump’s transition team had put forward a budget proposal that included eliminating the two cultural organizations.

When this writer signed the petition on January 23, the petition had more than 40 signatures. Now, it has 51, though my Facebook post alone generated 11 shares. The White House supposedly will respond to the petition if it garners 100,000 signatures by February 20.

When a colleague tested the petition and the provided link to share it with others, he found that it led to the following page:

When users try to share the petition, this is the resulting page.

When users try to share the petition, this is the resulting page.

His signature was also not immediately reflected in the signature count. Nor were those of several others who tested the petition.

A change.org petition to save the NEA, meanwhile, has more than 16,000 signatures at time of writing.

The issue was previously reported by the Independent.

“Some might chalk this up to a technical glitch,” writes Michael Anthony Farley at ArtFCity, adding, in reference to Kellyanne Conway’s recent proposal that Trump’s positions are supported by “alternative facts,” that “others might label it ‘alternative counting.'”

The petition reads:

The Arts and Humanities are a vital part of our cultural identity and enhance the quality of our lives. They connect us to the past, they speak to us in the present, and they are our legacy, our gift to the future. Investing in them is never a waste, and I strongly urge that both the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities continue to receive federal funding.


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