Volunteer took to the streets in events across the state Thursday in an effort to get the 28,501 signatures needed to submit an application to the Division of Elections to recall Gov. Mike Dunleavy.
In Juneau, volunteers gathered in front of the Planet Alaska gallery on Ferry Way downtown. By noon Thursday, volunteers estimated that they had collected over 300 signatures.
Chris Dimond, an organizer for the Pacific Northwest Regional Council of Carpenters and one of the volunteer signature gatherers, sat at a table in front of the gallery, instructing citizens on how to properly fill out the application.
“I don’t think it was any one thing,” he said in response to a question about why he chose to volunteer. “I think it’s definitely been a combination of actions that got me motivated.”
Dimond said that he had been in front of Planet Alaska for several hours already and that he would stay for as long as he was allowed.
“I believe this recall effort does two things,” he said. “It sends a message to the governor that Alaskans are not on board with his plans and ideologies, and I believe that we as citizens and voters have the right to recall him due to the actions and the stated purpose in the recall effort.”
The Recall Dunleavy campaign, chaired in part by former Alaska Writer Laureate Peggy Shumaker and her husband Joe Usibelli Sr., created a application listing several instances where they say Dunleavy violated state law.
Among by reasons cited by the campaign are the use of state funds for partisan purposes and violation of separation of powers through improper use of the line-item veto.
One Juneau resident who turned out to sign the application was Gretchen Bishop, “I don’t think that our state is headed in a good direction economically,” she said. “I think we need an income tax and I think we need to get rid of the oil tax give-away,” Bishop said, referring to the tax credits given to oil companies for operating in the state. Both citizens and some state lawmakers have said that oil taxes could be a source of revenue to help boost state coffers.
“I think we need to hang on to as many state services as we can,” Bishop said, “and we need to get ready for global climate change (by) upgrading our infrastructure.” Huge cuts right now, while the state has money, “doesn’t make good economic sense,” she said.
Recall Dunleavy campaign spokesperson Meda Dewitt said Thursday afternoon that smaller communities like Nome and Bethel had received over 100 signatures each, and that despite Anchorage’s event having not yet started, people had begun showing up wanting to sign the application.
Once the application is submitted, it will either be approved or rejected by the Director of the Division of Elections. Once the application is approved, a petition will be circulated which must be signed by 71, 252 voters, or 25 percent of the total numbers having voted in the 2018 General Election. Once that stage is completed there will be a recall election.
Should the recall election succeed, the Lt. Governor will assume the role of governor for the remainder of the term.
The campaign’s website states that Alaska law allows for any side of the process to challenge the effort in the superior courts. “Given the history of past recall efforts — it is almost certain that the question will wind up in the court for final determination,” the site says.
• Contact reporter Peter Segall at 523-2228 or firstname.lastname@example.org