Changing Change.org

By Jon Feere and Jon Feere on January 7, 2009

The website Change.org includes the following quote at the top of its homepage:

“I will open the doors of government and ask you to be involved in your own democracy again.” – President-elect Barack Obama

Launched in 2007, the site claims to be aimed at “empowering movements for social change,” and is partnered with a variety of open-border groups such as LaRaza and the SEIU. It apparently is not officially affiliated with Obama’s Change.gov website.


For the past month, the site’s creators have been seeking submissions on a host of subjects for a manifesto they plan to present to the Obama Administration on January 16th at the National Press Club – it’s supposed to represent a “top ten” policy idea list from the American voter. This project is a “response to President-elect Barack Obama’s call for increased civic participation in America.” They refer to it as a “citizen-driven project” – although it’s not necessary to be a citizen to participate.

The submission process is quite simple: beginning in December 2008, anyone was free to submit any policy “idea” and also vote on other submissions they found appealing. The polls closed on December 31st, and the three highest-rated submissions in each subject then went to a final round of voting. The top 10 most popular “ideas” will be presented at the Press Club.

One subject receiving quite a lot of attention is immigration. The public registered, voted, and took time to comment on the issue of immigration with the hope that Change.org would fulfill its promise and be a voice for the people. Plenty of people submitted ideas focused on enforcement, and these submissions quickly garnered votes. After a few days, a proposal titled “Enforce Our Immigration Laws” shot up to the 2nd place spot in the immigration category, making it to the second round.

But only temporarily.

The people behind the scenes at Change.org lived up to their namesake and changed the results by eliminating the enforcement entry. It seems the organization did not want to promote any ideas from the public that did not meet their open-border agenda. Now, after a rigged vote, the top three immigration entries are: (1) Pass the DREAM Act; (2) Equal Immigration Rights for Same Sex Binational Couples; and (3) Provide relief for families of immigrants.

After some research, I’ve concluded that Change.org never had any intention of letting the public speak freely. On December 4th, the author of a pro-Dream Act blog had posted inside information suggesting that Change.org was planning on manipulating the results all along. On DreamActivist.org, an administrator wrote the following regarding the enforcement entries:

“Change.org might just take those ideas and comments out by tomorrow… =]…”

For those not familiar with text-speak, that little symbol at the end of the sentence is a sideways smiley face.

The entire blog entry has since been removed from the site’s archives, but it remains available. The same individual claims that the enforcement entries were “disqualified” by Change.org. Thus far, there is no explanation from Change.org on the suspicious middle-of-the-night changes.

Although Change.org does not appear to be affiliated with Barack Obama’s Change.gov website, that fact will not stop the public from equating the two and viewing these results with an air of legitimacy. But in reality, Change.org has little credibility, particularly on the issue of immigration. Perhaps this is now a moot point: currently no immigration “idea” has made the final round of voting. In fact, the most important issue for voters at Change.org is entitled “Legalize the Medicinal and Recreational Use of Marijuana.”