ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) — The Recall Dunleavy campaign hit the first required number of signatures, but they're still out there collecting more.
A passerby signs the petition to recall governor Dunleavy.
“This is just the first step,” said signature collector Arenza Thingpin Jr. “This process is more like asking the right to continue gathering signatures to make this effort a success."
The campaign says it's to compensate for any signatures they've collected that may not be valid. Once they send them to the Division of Elections, it's out of their hands.
“The division will take the petition application pages that will be submitted for the recall petition and enter the information provided by each voter into our voter registration system to determine if those voters are qualified voters, and eligible and count towards the number of required signatures," said Division of Elections director Gail Fenumiai.
The Division of Elections says that process usually takes three to five weeks. Then, the Department of Law will evaluate whether or not the campaign's grounds for recall meet statutory requirements — lack of fitness, incompetence, neglect of duties, or corruption.
The Recall Dunleavy chair thinks they do.
“We used the items that were most reasonable to argue in court,” said Meda DeWitt, chair of the Recall Dunleavy campaign. “They were pretty blatantly obvious."
The recall petition cites three of the four grounds — neglect of duties, incompetence, and/or lack of fitness — alleging the governor violated state law by refusing to appoint a judge to Palmer Superior Court within 45 days of receiving nominations, by authorizing the use of state funds for partisan political advertising without proper disclosure, and violating separation-of-powers with line-item vetoes.
On Tuesday, we asked the governor if his decision to partially restore funding to the UA system was affected by the recall effort.
“From my perspective not at all,” Dunleavy said. “We've been working on this for some time. We've been looking at the budgets for some time. We've been dealing with, again, the specter of running out of savings for years."
His press secretary said today the administration had nothing else to add. Meanwhile, the campaign will go on collecting signatures.
After the State Fair, the Recall campaign will submit all of their signatures to the Division of Elections. If the Department of Law finds the grounds for recall legally valid, then booklets will be distributed across the state for signature. If the campaign can get just over 71,000 signatures in those booklets, the recall vote will be put to ballot.
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