Alaska Supreme Court allows Recall Dunleavy to begin gathering signatures

In this Aug. 13, 2019 file photo, Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy speaks at a news conference in Anchorage, Alaska. (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen, File)
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JUNEAU, Alaska (KTUU) - The Alaska Supreme Court has ruled that petition booklets must be printed by the Division of Elections in the effort to recall the governor from office.

On Jan. 29, a stay was ordered by Superior Court justice Eric Aarseth, temporarily halting the recall effort. The order for a stay was based on the possibility for voter confusion if the Supreme Court reversed or modified any of the provisions on the recall petition.

On Friday, the Supreme Court determined that Aarseth did not consider the potential harm to Recall Dunleavy by ordering the stay. “The loss of several months of signature-gathering in this process is at least a “not inconsiderable” injury,” the order from the Supreme Court reads.

According to a briefing schedule released by the Supreme Court, oral arguments will be heard on March 25 and a decision could be rendered as soon as that evening or the following day.

In the meantime, Gail Fenumiai, the director of the Division of Elections, says the printing of petition booklets is expected to be completed by next week. “We are working on getting the artwork done and submitted,” Fenumiai wrote by email on Friday afternoon.

“We are very excited,” said Meda DeWitt, the chair of Recall Dunleavy, about Friday’s decision to lift the stay. The team seeking to recall the governor is planning kick-off events across Alaska starting on Feb. 29 and March 1.

71,252 signatures would be needed to be collected from registered Alaskan voters to trigger a recall election.

In mid-January, the governor spoke frankly about the possibility of a recall election but said the effort was politically motivated.

“I think it’s all about undoing an election and stopping an individual from implementing an agenda they stand on and were elected on,” he said.

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