Recall Dunleavy group ready to launch - Must Read Alaska
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Monday, September 23, 2019
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Recall Dunleavy group ready to launch

The official launch of the Recall Dunleavy campaign takes place Aug. 1 across the state of Alaska, when activists will endeavor to get the signatures they need from every district on a petition that will then be their basis for yet another petition to get the question on the ballot.

The foundational work has been going on for months, ever since Gov. Dunleavy issued his budget, and the groups involved have been busy building an organization and what they hope is a watertight case for recall. They have lawyers working on it, preparing for a legal challenge. Organizers have purchased the website names “firedunleavy,” “recalldunleavy,” and “dunleavylied”.

Meda DeWitt, is the chair and spokesperson, Joe Usibelli Sr..; Vic Fischer, former Democratic state senator; and former Sen. Arliss Sturgulewski, once a Republican but now an undeclared voter.

The petition, once filed with the necessary signatures, gets reviewed by the Division of Elections director, and then goes to the Department of Law, which must decide if everything is correct.

That decision also involves weighing whether the grounds for recall are sufficient to meet the vaguely worded standards of “Neglect of Duties, Incompetence, and/or Lack of Fitness.” These are judgment calls the Attorney General must make, and if he denies the recall effort based on those grounds or on technical matters, the groups involved will certainly take it to the Superior Court.

The Recall Dunleavy camp is counting on the courts to be sympathetic to their cause. Dunleavy did, after all, cut some of the Supreme Court’s administrative overhead, and the judges are on record protesting those cuts.

The first petition, which is circulating this week, requires 28,501 signatures; the second petition will need 71,252 for certification for the ballot.

THE PRECEDENT: WISCONSIN GOV. SCOTT WALKER RECALL

After making significant budget cuts, Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin faced a recall election in 2012, and won. The recall organizers were mainly union activists unhappy with Walker’s limits on collective bargaining rights for state employees. They collected the 900,000 signatures needed to have a recall election. Walker and his lieutenant governor survived the recall, 53-46.

THE CHARGES AGAINST DUNLEAVY

The case being made is quite thin. Here are the exact words:

Neglect of Duties, Incompetence, and/or Lack of Fitness:

  • Governor Dunleavy violated Alaska law by refusing to appoint a judge to the Palmer Superior Court within 45 days of receiving nominations.
  • Governor Dunleavy violated Alaska Law and the Constitution, and misused state funds by unlawfully and without proper disclosure authorizing and allowing the use of state funds for partisan purposes to purchase electronic advertisements and direct mailers making partisan statements about political opponents and supporters.
  • Governor Dunleavy violated separation-of-powers by improperly using the line-item veto to (a) attack the judiciary and the rule of law; and (b) preclude the legislature from upholding its constitutional Health, Education and Welfare responsibilities.
  • Governor Dunleavy acted incompetently when he mistakenly vetoed approximately $18 million more than he told the legislature in official communications he intended to strike. Uncorrected, the error would cause the state to lose over $40 million in additional federal Medicaid funds.

THE RULES FOR RECALL

Section 11.8 – Recall.

All elected public officials in the State, except judicial officers, are subject to recall by the voters of the State or political subdivision from which elected. Procedures and grounds for recall shall be prescribed by the legislature.

Sec. 15.45.470. Provision and scope for use of recall.

The governor, the lieutenant governor, and members of the state legislature are subject to recall by the voters of the state or the political subdivision from which elected.

Sec. 15.45.480. Filing application.

The recall of the governor, lieutenant governor, or a member of the state legislature is proposed by filing an application with the director. A deposit of $100 must accompany the application. This deposit shall be retained if a petition is not properly filed. If a petition is properly filed the deposit shall be refunded.

Sec. 15.45.490. Time of filing application.

An application may not be filed during the first 120 days of the term of office of any state public official subject to recall.

Sec. 15.45.500. Form of application.

The application must include
(1) the name and office of the person to be recalled;
(2) the grounds for recall described in particular in not more than 200 words;

(3) the printed name, the signature, the address, and a numerical identifier of qualified voters equal in number to 10 percent of those who voted in the preceding general election in the state or in the senate or house district of the official sought to be recalled, 100 of whom will serve as sponsors; each signature page must include a statement that the qualified voters signed the application with the name and office of the person to be recalled and the statement of grounds for recall attached; and

(4) the designation of a recall committee consisting of three of the qualified voters who subscribed to the application and shall represent all sponsors and subscribers in matters relating to the recall; the designation must include the name, mailing address, and signature of each committee member.

Sec. 15.45.510. Grounds for recall.

The grounds for recall are (1) lack of fitness, (2) incompetence, (3) neglect of duties, or (4) corruption.

Sec. 15.45.515. Designation of sponsors.

The qualified voters who subscribe to the application in support of the recall are designated as sponsors. The recall committee may designate additional sponsors by giving notice to the lieutenant governor of the names, addresses, and numerical identifiers of those so designated.

Notice on all matters pertaining to the application and petition may be served on any member of the recall committee in person or by mail addressed to a committee member as indicated on the application.

Sec. 15.45.530. Notice of the number of voters.

The director, upon request, shall notify the recall committee of the official number of persons who voted in the preceding general election in the state or in the senate or house district of the official to be recalled.

Sec. 15.45.540. Review of application for certification.

The director shall review the application and shall either certify it or notify the recall committee of the grounds of refusal.

Sec. 15.45.550. Bases of denial of certification.

The director shall deny certification upon determining that

(1) the application is not substantially in the required form;

(2) the application was filed during the first 120 days of the term of office of the official subject to recall or within less than 180 days of the termination of the term of office of any official subject to recall;

(3) the person named in the application is not subject to recall; or

(4) there is an insufficient number of qualified subscribers.

Sec. 15.45.560. Preparation of petition.

(a) The director shall prepare a sufficient number of sequentially numbered petitions to allow full circulation throughout the state or throughout the senate or house district of the official sought to be recalled. Each petition must contain

(1) the name and office of the person to be recalled;

(2) the statement of the grounds for recall included in the application;

(3) a statement of minimum costs to the state associated with certification of the recall application, review of the recall petition, and conduct of a special election, excluding legal costs to the state and the costs to the state of any challenge to the validity of the petition;

(4) an estimate of the cost to the state of recalling the official;

(5) the statement of warning required in AS 15.45.570;

(6) sufficient space for the printed name, a numerical identifier, the signature, the date of signature, and the address of each person signing the petition; and

(7) other specifications prescribed by the director to ensure proper handling and control.

(b) Upon request of the recall committee, the lieutenant governor shall report to the committee the number of persons who voted in the preceding general election in the state or in the district of the official sought to be recalled by the recall committee.

Sec. 15.45.570. Statement of warning.

Each petition must include a statement of warning that a person who signs a name other than the person’s own to the petition, or who knowingly signs more than once for the same proposition at one election, or who signs the petition while knowingly not a qualified voter, is guilty of a class B misdemeanor.

Sec. 15.45.575. Qualifications of circulator.

To circulate a petition booklet, a person shall be
(1) a citizen of the United States;
(2) 18 years of age or older; and
(3) a resident of the state as determined under AS 15.05.020.

Sec. 15.45.580. Circulation; prohibitions.

(a) The petitions may be circulated only in person throughout the state.

(b) A circulator may not receive payment or agree to receive payment that is greater than $1 a signature, and a person or an organization may not pay or agree to pay an amount that is greater than $1 a signature, for the collection of signatures on a petition.

(c) A person or organization may not knowingly pay, offer to pay, or cause to be paid money or other valuable thing to a person to sign or refrain from signing a petition.

(d) A person or organization that violates (b) or (c) of this section is guilty of a class B misdemeanor.

(e) In this section,
(1) “organization” has the meaning given in AS 11.81.900;
(2) “other valuable thing” has the meaning given in AS 15.56.030; (3) “person” has the meaning given in AS 11.81.900.

Sec. 15.45.590. Manner of signing and withdrawing name from petition.

Any qualified voter registered to vote in the district represented by the official sought to be recalled may subscribe to the petition by printing the voter’s name, a numerical identifier, and an address, by signing the voter’s name, and by dating the signature. A person who has signed the petition may withdraw the person’s name only by giving written notice to the director before the date the petition is filed.

Before being filed, each petition shall be certified by an affidavit by the person who personally circulated the petition. In determining the sufficiency of the petition, the lieutenant governor may not count subscriptions on petitions not properly certified at the time of filing or corrected before the subscriptions are counted. The affidavit must state in substance

(1) that the person signing the affidavit meets the residency, age, and citizenship qualifications for circulating a petition under AS 15.45.575;

(2) that the person is the only circulator of that petition;

(3) that the signatures were made in the circulator’s actual presence;

(4) that, to the best of the circulator’s knowledge, the signatures are the signatures of the persons whose names they purport to be;

(5) that, to the best of the circulator’s knowledge, the signatures are of persons who were qualified voters on the date of signature;

(6) that the circulator has not entered into an agreement with a person or organization in violation of AS 15.45.580(b);

(7) that the circulator has not violated AS 15.45.580(c) with respect to that petition; and

(8) whether the circulator has received payment or agreed to receive payment for the collection of signatures on the petition, and, if so, the name of each person or organization that has paid or agreed to pay the circulator for collection of signatures on the petition.

Sec. 15.45.610. Filing of petition.

A petition may not be filed within less than 180 days of the termination of the term of office of a state public official subject to recall. The sponsor may file the petition only if signed by qualified voters equal in number to 25 percent of those who voted in the preceding general election in the state or in the senate or house district of the official sought to be recalled.

Sec. 15.45.620. Review of petition.

Within 30 days of the date of filing, the director shall review the petition and shall notify the recall committee and the person subject to recall whether the petition was properly or improperly filed.

Sec. 15.45.630. Bases for determining the petition was improperly filed.

The director shall notify the committee that the petition was improperly filed upon determining that

(1) there is an insufficient number of qualified subscribers; or

(2) the petition was filed within less than 180 days of the termination of the term of office of the official subject to recall.

Sec. 15.45.640. Submission of supplementary petition.

Upon receipt of notice that the filing of the petition was improper, the committee may amend and correct the petition by circulating and filing a supplementary petition within 20 days of the date that notice was given, if filed within less than 180 days of the termination of the term of office of the person subject to recall.

Sec. 15.45.650. Calling special election.

If the director determines the petition is properly filed and if the office is not vacant, the director shall prepare the ballot and shall call a special election to be held on a date not less than 60, nor more than 90, days after the date that notification is given that the petition was properly filed. If a primary or general election is to be held not less than 60, nor more than 90, days after the date that notification is given that the petition was properly filed, the special election shall be held on the date of the primary or general election.

Sec. 15.45.660. Preparation of ballot.

The ballot shall be designed with the question of whether the public official shall be recalled, placed on the ballot in the following manner: “Shall ( name of official ) be recalled from the office of . . . . . .?”. Provision shall be made for marking the question “Yes” or “No.”

Sec. 15.45.670. Conduct of special election.

Unless specifically provided otherwise, all provisions regarding the conduct of a general election shall govern the conduct of a special election for the recall of the state public official, including but not limited to, provisions concerning voter qualification; provisions regarding duties, powers, rights and obligations of the director, of other election officials, and of municipalities; provision for notification of the election; provision for the payment of election expenses; provisions regarding employees being allowed time from work to vote; provisions for counting, reviewing, and certification of returns; provision for the determination of votes and of recount contests and court appeal; and provisions for absentee voting.

Sec. 15.45.680. Display of grounds for and against recall.

The director shall provide each election board in the state or in the senate or house district of the person subject to recall with at least five copies of the statement of the grounds for recall included in the application and at least five copies of the statement of not more than 200 words made by the official subject to recall in justification of the official’s conduct in office. The person subject to recall may provide the director with the statement within 10 days after the date the director gave notification that the petition was properly filed. The election board shall post at least one copy of the statements for and against recall in a conspicuous place in the polling place.

Sec. 15.45.690. Certification of election results.

If a majority of the votes cast on the question of recall favor the removal of the official, the director shall so certify and the office is vacant on the day after the date of certification.

Sec. 15.45.700. Filling vacancy.

A vacancy caused by a recall is filled as a vacancy caused by any other means is filled.

Sec. 15.45.710. Insufficiency of grounds, application, or petition.

A recall submitted to the voters may not be held void because of the insufficiency of the grounds, application, or petition by which the submission was procured.

Sec. 15.45.720. Judicial review.

Any person aggrieved by a determination made by the director under AS 15.45.470- 15.45.710 may bring an action in the superior court to have the determination reviewed within 30 days of the date on which notice of determination was given.

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Written by

Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • Can’t wait to be approached by one of these bozos. The House and Senate should be the ones being recalled. The House took at least a month to organize while being paid. They have both spent money like drunken sailors while we all knew these days were coming. They have also turned a part year job into a full time one with great benefits. They should only receive health insurance during the regular session. Wonder how many more days they will “work” this year. They voted not to accept per diem during special sessions but the first thing they did this year is vote to receive per diem. The governor is trying to get spending under control; they just want to spend. We all need to give to get our state back in a good financial place

    • 100% Agree…

      And for the record: Dunleavy will win a recall effort… easily.

      • Yessir Griz, and after Dunleavy gets rid of everyone he suspects of dragging him down, the knuckle-draggers on here won’t want him though. Heheh!

  • RECALL MY (HALI) BUTT! ?

  • Sun Tzu said: If your opponent is of choleric temper, seek to irritate him. Pretend to be weak, that he may grow arrogant.

    Therefore let these Marxists waste there anger driven energy on folly.

  • “Launch away” wingnuts. Another waste of $$, time and energy, pursuing the ‘neverland’ of dim/socialist utopian fairy tales. Governor Dunleavy was elected by Alaskans to do exactly what he’s doing. You can’t recall a legitimate vote. No grounds, no sane evidence, no impetus to make your ‘recall’ legitimate. If as much energy, money, desire for a “Great Alaska” were to be put into motion, Alaska would be the leader of America. Instead, we have a bunch of disillusioned idiots trying to steal Alaskans’ PFD, invalidate a legitimate election, and persecute the man trying to save Alaska from a socialist agenda. Now we have a further division of Alaska from some residents (and outsiders, not Alaskans) with a desire to fiscally and morally destroy our state. What’s up with that? I, for one, heartily disapprove.

    • “Bozos” is a too polite and generous description of these whining losers unwilling to abide by the electorate.

      • Joe Miller peaked during his primary and Mike Dunleavy has peaked during the general. Unfortunately, it’s been downhill since those peaks. The electorate can change, it seems.

        • Thank you Bill,…..yah,…..I never thought of it that way.

  • Sec. 15.45.710. Insufficiency of grounds, application, or petition.

    A recall submitted to the voters may not be held void because of the insufficiency of the grounds, application, or petition by which the submission was procured.

  • Dunleavy is pro-development/mining. Why King Coal joining the redistributionists?

    • You are wondering why King Coal is joining the redistributionists, maybe you should read his open letter. He is explaining pretty well the reason why he and his wife ask fellow Alaskans to follow him in the recall process.

      Here I summaries for you, some of the reason:
      – the lack of thinking, that went into the vetoes
      – the Governor’s inability to understand the concept of separation of powers to remain in power.
      – the use of state funds for political gain by the Governor’s
      – caring about social programs and community, and not having broken infrastructures

      Maybe you don’t understand the last one, but Usibelli mine need workers, and workers will come only if the state provides a good quality of life, for some it goes along with education and arts, it doesn’t matter what you personally think.

      Also, you can find the full letter here: https://www.adn.com/opinions/2019/07/30/an-open-letter-to-alaskans-we-must-recall-gov-dunleavy/

    • I believe Usibelli is a big UAF supporter and it’s unclear just what Dunlevvy is a supporter of.
      No doubt Talerico got a call from Joe that moved him to support that Capital budget.

    • I love it when Democrats waste THEIR time and THEIR money.

  • I hope they fall on their face. No bases for a recall just a bunch of whiners who cannot handle the truth.

    • Yessir Mark, when you lose King Coal someone has to fall on their face.
      Dunleavy should “dig coal” like Trump. Heheh!

  • This is the same get Trump crowd.

  • There is a big difference between Trump and Dunleavy. Trump is the leader of the Free World. Dunleavy is the leader of the Free Stuff Army.. . sorry I consider handing out money to every eligible Alaskan at $3,000 dollars a head to be an entitlement that I would expect to see from the liberals. That’s why I signed..

    • The $3,000 payment is not an entitlement, but a right of the Alaskan people. If you have lived in Alaska for any length of time you would know that the Permanent Fund Dividend was created by Jay Hammond for the people of this state, not for government to use and spend as they will. He specifically indicated that this money was earmarked for each and every Alaskan resident and was not intended for government use and spending. It is the self-proclaimed liberals and democrats that think it is okay to spend the money of the people because they don’t, and won’t, control their spending habits. Dunleavy is the first and only Governor to actually tell the Legislators that it is time to stop spending like you have a never-ending flow of money and start spending within our means. He was right to cut the budget and he is right to veto their latest attempt at trying to further dig their way into stealing the entire PFD. This is why the Dunleavy supporters voted for him, and this is why we STILL support him. You want to talk about entitlement – let’s talk about all the money that you think is okay for the government to spend on a failing school with a less than 50% graduation rate, with students carrying sub-par and below average GPA scores, with duplicate and overpaid staff, with duplicate and unnecessary branches throughout the state, with loss of accreditation, etc. That my friend is entitlement. UAA is finally getting the picture that they need to consolidate services, cut back on duplicative staff, get rid of unnecessary satellite “schools” when on-line programs can provide a degree, etc. Furthermore, the recall initiative in Wasilla was met with laughter and disdain. That woman stood out there trying to wave people in and she was ignored. It was priceless. They may get their signatures, but they have no grounds to recall him – just because they want to throw a tantrum like a child because they don’t get their way. Grow up Legislators. We are on to your game and we have had enough of you!!

      • I have been here for 40 years. Read Tim Bradner’s article for a history lesson. I stand with the Republican’s like John Coghill and Chris Birch that get it. Not those freeloaders who don’t know economics that don’t.

      • You crack me up with your comment. The idea that the chief executive should just cut things that aren’t working rather than fix them — keeping in mind the government structure didn’t come out of nowhere, but was setup by other legitimately elected officials — just waters down the qualification for the job. Which I guess is why you think Dumbleavy is the right guy. If you expected someone to come in and fix things — get the university running well, for example — rather than just slash and burn, then maybe you would look for someone with half a brain instead of this airhead.

        • B you got it. The administration’s brainpower going into fixing Alaska’s problems resembles a BB in a box car.. While Kevin Meyer as a long tim leg contributed to the problem I have confidence that he can do a better job when he gets the chance.

        • The university has had years and years to fix things and get it running well but they have failed to do so because they knew they could count on the State to give them funding to run their poorly managed school system. The total of the budget that was cut for them was 17%, not the imaginary number that the ADN and others like to throw out of 41%. Furthermore, the Legislature has had years and years to live within their budget and they have failed to do that. Rather than cut back on spending they appropriate more and more with no incentive to reduce spending because they want to grab the PFD funds to spend. I would assume that you run your household on a budget and live within your means, and you have to make tough choices about what you want and what you spend your money on. Well the same needs to be done with the Legislature and the budget. They weren’t doing it and the Governor had every right to try and reduce the budget to a more manageable debt.

          • The university system has never appropriated itself a single dime, and it has always lived within its means (eg lived on what the legislature appropriated and the governor signed), so the idea that they’re all on some crazy spending frenzy is again placing blame in the wrong place. I stand by my statement that a competent executive would manage the executive branch rather than cut it to pieces. My young kid can cut a budget with way less backroom cronyism that this administration. It takes brains, however, to manage.

  • We are about to see exactly whether Mike is like Trump or not.
    At this point, Trump would be on the offense.

  • Pissing in the wind

  • I run my household on a budget as the state should. I don’r expect handouts and neither should self respecting Alaskans. The expectation that Alaskans should receive a $3000 check is an embarrassment.

    • Those that think they need not abide by the law are the true embarrassment to the great State of Alaska. The PFD was set in law to provide each and every resident a share of the wealth generated by the oil industry.

      • If you want oil industry money, get a job in the oil industry and earn it.

  • The far left in Wisconsin thought they would easily boot Governor Scott Walker after he signed Act 10, which created right to work for government employees and other significant cost saving reforms.

    They were convinced of this. Instead, Rachel Maddow could be seen crying on MSNBC as the Wisconsin election returns cake through, with Walker strongly winning the recall. He went on to serve a second term as governor, after an old fated and brief presidential campaign.

    Hold firm and stand by your governor. We’re his vetoes perfect, nope… but someone needs to lead the charge for fiscal sanity.

  • Those that think the disgust with Dunleavy is limited to the far left are deluding themselves. I know many in the resource industries – think oil – that are disgusted with the decisions he is making.

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