Juneau residents line up outside of the Planet Alaska Gallery to sign an application petition to recall Gov. Mike Dunleavy on Thursday, Aug. 1, 2019. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

Juneau residents line up outside of the Planet Alaska Gallery to sign an application petition to recall Gov. Mike Dunleavy on Thursday, Aug. 1, 2019. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

Governor recall campaign kicks off signature gathering across state

Campaign holds events at Centennial Hall Saturday and Sunday

The Recall Dunleavy campaign is launching the second phase of the recall process with signature gathering events across the state this weekend, as part of its ongoing effort to recall Gov. Mike Dunleavy.

Starting in Anchorage on Friday, the campaign is trying to get as many signatures as possible as quickly as possible to gather the 71,252 signatures needed to file a recall application.

“We want this question to be one that Alaskans have the opportunity to answer as soon as possible,” said Claire Pywell, campaign manager for Recall Dunleavy.

In Juneau, signature gathering events will be held at Centennial Hall Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Signatures can still be gathered after the weekend, but all signatures must be made in person, according to state law.

The campaign has until 180 days before the end of the governor’s term to collect the signatures needed Pywell said. If the signatures are submitted, the Division of Elections will then have 30 days to certify all the signatures on the application.

Following the certification process, DOE has 60-90 days with which to call an election. If there’s an already scheduled statewide election within that window, the question will be added to that ballot, according to Brian Jackson, program manager for DOE.

Depending on when the recall campaign submits their signature booklets, Alaskans could vote to recall the governor during the state’s primary election on Aug. 18, or in the general election Nov. 4. If the question were to appear on the primary ballot, Alaskans would be able to vote regardless of party affiliation, Jackson said.

The campaign’s petition for recall is still technically in the courts, but earlier this month the Alaska Supreme Court allowed for the second phase of signature-gathering to begin.

The recall campaign began in August of last year following the governor’s announcement in July he intended to veto $444 million from the state budget crafted by the legislature.

When the campaign submitted its petition for recall in November, the Department of Law denied the request calling it, “both factually and legally insufficient to meet the statutory grounds for recall.”

Recall Dunleavy sued, and the case will be heard before the Alaska Supreme Court on March 25, according to Pywell.

On Feb. 18, a group supporting Dunleavy, which had been named as an intervener in the court case, dropped out of the legal proceedings.

The group, Stand Tall With Mike, said in a statement, “further participation in the legal process would not be a productive use of its resources,” and that it would put its efforts towards an eventual election.

Stand Tall With Mike also raised questions about whether Alaska Supreme Court Justice Joel Bolger could rule impartially on the matter, given that part of the stated grounds for recall are that the governor improperly used his veto authority to “attack the judiciary.

Dunleavy spokesperson Jeff Turner said in an email Friday the governor’s office could not comment for this article because it was a campaign issue.

• Contact reporter Peter Segall at 523-2228 or psegall@juneauempire.com.

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