The Recall Dunleavy campaign announced on Friday night that it has gathered 36,731 signatures for the application phase of the recall process, surpassing the 28,501-signature requirement by more than 8,000 signatures.
The effort launched a little more than three weeks ago, targeting Gov. Michael J. Dunleavy for recall over neglect of duties, incompetence and lack of fitness. The group plans to submit its application to the Alaska Division of Elections after the end of the Alaska State Fair, where it has a booth to collect signatures, and get onto the looming legal battle over the recall effort.
The 36,731 signature mark is notable because it means in three weeks the effort has collected half of the signatures it will need for the second phase of the recall. It’s a symbolic achievement because the signature-gathering process restarts at zero for the recall petition, and people who signed the application will need to sign again.
The additional signatures do serve a purpose, however, as they will work as a buffer for any signatures that are disqualified. The group announced it has surpassed the 28,501-signature hurdle at the end of its second week of signature-gathering.
In addition to the fair, the group has continued to collect signatures throughout the state, and the announcement highlights 90 signatures that were gathered from the island of Savoonga, which has 490 registered voters according to the Division of Elections.
“We still have volunteers collecting signatures in communities across Alaska who want to be part of this process. There is so much energy behind this movement, Alaskans standing up against the destruction of their state, it is an honor to work with them,” said campaign chair Meda DeWitt in a prepared statement.
Once the group submits the application to the Division of Elections, the state will conduct a legal review of the recall petition that includes input from Attorney General Kevin Clarkson. The petition review process has no deadline set in law.
Whatever decision is eventually produced by the Division of Elections will almost assuredly be subject to a legal challenge in the courts.
When and if the petition application is approved, the Recall Dunleavy group will set about collecting 71,252 signatures, which is equal to 25 percent of the voters from the 2018 election. The group has to start over for this phase, and people who signed the application can sign the petition.
Like the application review, this process also doesn’t have a timeline except that the petitions cannot be submitted within the final 180 days of the governor’s term (because the recall election would overlap with his normal election for a second term).
Once the petition is submitted with the 71,252 signatures, the Division of Elections has 30 days to review the petition and schedule a special election within the next 60 to 90 days. This can take the form of its own election or appear on a regular election ballot.