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Petition started for Wisconsin to secede

Published On: Nov 14 2012 05:51:50 PM CST
Updated On: Nov 14 2012 08:51:40 PM CST
MADISON, Wis. -

Some people who are unhappy with the results of the election have started a petition for Wisconsin to secede from the union.

Someone named "Alex T" of Wausaukee started a petition on a White House website designed to "have a voice in your government," asking for secession from the union.

So far, nearly 5,000 people have signed it. But Wisconsin is not alone, national media outlets are reporting that petitions have been started on behalf of resident in all 50 states.

"I think you should take it seriously as an issue, but there's no constitutional right to secede," said Donald Downs, a constitutional law expert and professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. "You may have heard in the mid-19th century there was this thing called the Civil War, the most trying war in our history probably, and that was over the right not to secede."

Downs said that while other countries have seceded in times of tyranny, such as the breakup of the Soviet Union, disagreement over an election doesn't rise to that level.

"In general it's one that the burden of proof to justify moving that direction is exceedingly high," Downs said. "If you look around the world where secession has arisen, it has been in places where there have been clear cases of tyranny against the people. Is Washington in a situation of utter tyranny against Wisconsin? I don't think so."

The White House website said that if 25,000 signatures can be gathered in a month on an issue, it will review the petition. So far, seven states have qualified, including Texas, although Gov. Rick Perry is distancing the state from the issue.

Wisconsin's petition only has about 5,000 signatures, and many of them appear to be from out of state.

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