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To find an image, do a Google image search of the tool. Find an image about 600px wide, if possible. Copy the image URL and paste into the box below.
What is the name of the tool?
Tool Class
To what "family" does the tool belong? Pick as many categories as are appropriate. EG: Data Collection, Security, etc. The wiki will automatically create a link to the relevant tool class.
DemTools, Petition, Citizen Engagement (Tool Class)
Who made the tool? Sometimes the tool name and the developer name are the same, and sometimes, they are different.
US Office of the CTO
Date Created
What was the date when the tool was first launched?
Still Maintained?
Do the developers of the tool continue to work on it, adding features and fixing problems?
Open Source?
Is the tool's source code original source code freely available and may it be redistributed and modified? (This makes it possible for users to employ the tool for free, with some technical effort.)
Pick the platforms on which the user would primarily use the tool. Be as selective as possible. If a tool works mainly in the browser, select "Web". If the user can technically load the interface on a smartphone but have a very poor experience, do not select "Android" or "iOS". "Mac" and "PC" are for apps that must be installed to a machine in order to run, as opposed to running from a browser.
What is the main website where a user can learn more about the tool? (Remember to include "http://)."
Payment Structure
How, if at all, does a user pay to use the tool. Select all that apply: "Free" if there are components of a service that can be used for free; "Paid" if payment is required (either one-time, or at a given rate upon use) for use of the tool's full functionality; "subscription" if a monthly payment is required.
Languages Supported
What languages does the app's interface support? Note: some apps allow users to communicate in other languages but require the user to use an English language interface. In this case, the app is considered only to support "English".
English, Arabic, Russian, French, Spanish
Skill Level Needed
  • Beginner - The tool has a simple interface that assists the user, either through automatic processes or simple guides, in working with the tool. The user is able to do most things that they need to do without knowledge of advanced concepts, like code.
  • Intermediate - The tool allows the user to perform many tasks without knowledge of advanced concepts, but about an equal amount of functionality requires advanced knowledge. Some training may be required to use the tool.
  • Advanced - The tool requires advanced knowledge or training in order to use most of its functionality.

Tool Description

Petitions is a system for citizens to create and sign on to petitions to their leaders. Petitions was originally created by the U.S. Office of the CTO under the name We the People. After creating a survey, users can distribute it through Social Media, Email, or on their Website to raise awareness.

The Petitions extensions for the typical needs of a civic group in the developing world are available on NDI's GitHub repository. Installation, securing and maintenance requires someone with experience in Linux and web server management. NDI provides software-as-a-service hosting for this and other DemTools on our DemCloud servers.

Petitions provides an easy-to-use channel for citizen ideas and government responses. Individuals can submit their ideas for critical issues that need to be addressed; their fellow citizens can formally sign the petition to endorse the issues which they support. Once the number of signers crosses a predetermined threshold, the government or managing organization is obligated to either adopt the proposal or provide a substantive response as to why not.

Not only can Petitions drive citizen engagement and provide policymakers with views into what people’s concerns are - it gives the people a view into the governmental policymaking process. When appropriately implemented, Petitions will provide transparency into political processes and help citizens learn about the individuals and groups who deliberate and decide on governmental directions.


For use by Government Bodies

Government organizations - whether executive or legislative, at the national, provincial or local level - can benefit from citizens organizing and advocating around priority issues. If a government organization has the desire to better learn what citizens want, the will to push popular ideas, and the power to force other parts of the bureaucracy to implement change, Petitions can be a powerful tool to increase public trust in institutions and promote citizen understanding of government processes. Because of these dependencies, the Petitions tool thrives under conditions where leaders are motivated to connect with constituents. The governing body should also be capable of promoting the tool and adjusting its use according to local needs. Using the Petitions Demtool would not be recommended in a repressive or authoritarian environment. If the administrative powers do not act on petitions and provide thoughtful responses, citizen disillusionment with government is likely to be made worse, not better.

For Use by Civic Organizations

A civic group focused on putting ideas into practice in government can use Petitions as a way to collect citizen priorities and, using data on signatories, to pressure institutions to be more responsive to popular will. is a common example in the United States; by channeling hundreds of thousands of signatures to citizen causes, they have been able to push some important policy changes with governments, corporations, and other entities. To be effective and prevent increasing disaffection with political leaders, in most cases it would be important that the civic group has a strong partnership with government entities and a plausible avenue to actually make change happen.

What Makes This Tool Different from Others in its Class?

Another online petition tool,, allows users to create a petition without installing a tool using GitHub. Petitions, however, was designed to be useable by government actors, both to gather information and to respond to citizen feedback.

Links to Tutorial Content

Projects That Use DemTools Petitions