The Recall Dunleavy campaign is planning to start a major signature gathering push next week, but because of the statewide shutdown, the gathering is going to be done by mail.
Because signatures can’t be gathered electronically, the campaign has made available to anyone who requests one small signature booklets that can collect up to 15 signatures. Campaign staff have been quietly working to collect signatures throughout the state’s health mandates and municipal hunker-down orders, encouraging people to request booklets that can be signed and mailed back.
The goal is to get the necessary number of signatures, 71,252, submitted by July 3 so they can be verified in time to get the recall on the general election ballot in November, according to Claire Pywell, campaign manager for Recall Dunleavy. The campaign currently has 35,000-40,000 signatures, she said.
“If we are to make the general election we need to collect another 40,000 signatures to have that sort of healthy cushion,” Pywell said Wednesday. “We need 40,000 by the first week of June to make sure we are positioned to submit them all.”
The verification process for mailed signatures is more time consuming than in-person signature gathering, Pywell said, and it’s taken the campaign longer to verify each of the signatures they’ve received. The delay caused by verification is why Pywell couldn’t say exactly how many signatures the campaign had, because there were booklets still waiting to be checked.
So far the campaign has sent out roughly 4,500 signature booklets, Pywell said, each of which came back with an average of three to five signatures.
“There is a real message of urgency,” she said. “People remain really committed to state leadership they know they deserve.”
Dunleavy spokesperson Jeff Turner said in an email the governor’s office does not comment on the recall campaign. An organization that supports the governor, Stand Tall with Mike, did not respond to requests seeking comment.
The validity of the recall campaign’s claims against the governor are currently under review by the Alaska Supreme Court, and an opinion is expected soon, Pywell said.
Despite the matter still being before the court, judges have allowed the campaign to move forward with its signature gathering.
If the campaign is successful in its signature gathering efforts, a vote to recall Dunleavy would appear on the same ballot as the 2020 presidential election.