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November 14, 2012 09:55 PM

Thousands Sign SD Secession Petition

Sioux Falls, SD

Hundreds of thousands of online petitioners, including many in South Dakota, are putting out a modern-day call for secession. 

People from all 50 states have sent petitions to the White House requesting a peaceful exit from the country as part of a voter backlash against Election Day results. And the Internet has become a popular political platform for the disgruntled.

More than 5,000 people have placed their electronic John Hancocks on a petition calling for South Dakota to bolt from the United States and start its own government.

"I'm a Republican and even I think this is pretty out there and pretty crazy," Click Rain Online Marketing President Paul Ten Haken said.

Crazy, because the whole notion of secession went out the door with something called the Civil War.  But no matter how far-fetched the goal, a petition drive like this can be an effective tool to help disappointed voters vent their frustrations.

"I think petitions like this are a good thing because they allow people to feel like they have a voice in government.  And a lot of people continually feel like they're losing that voice more and more each year," Ten Haken said.

It only takes a matter of seconds to sign an online petition like this. It's a quick and easy streamlined political process that industry experts call "slack-tivism."

"Slack-tivism meaning it's a chance for me to feel like I'm being an activist but it's kind of a slacker way to do it. I can feel like I'm involved, I sign this petition. I did my part, but really, it took 10-seconds of your day," Ten Haken said.

A minimalist approach to political activism that Ten Haken doubts will get much, if any, response from the White House.  But to those who took the time to sign on, nothing succeeds like seceding.

Signers only have to provide their first name and the initial of their last name.  That kind of anonymity gets more people to sign the petitions.  But Ten Haken says it also allows petitioners to game the system by inflating the actual number of signers.

Opponents have now launched a counter-petition drive calling to deport everyone who signed a petition to secede.

  • Politics
  • South Dakota

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:
A misspelling was corrected in this story.

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