The official signature gathering on the petition to recall Gov. Mike Dunleavy has been suspended, as of March 18.
According to a social media message from the paid staff of the Recall Dunleavy Committee, the signature gathering in Anchorage had been paused a week ago. However, several observers said that they saw it and some documented it continuing in the malls, even after a state of emergency had been announced.
Meda Dewitt with Recall Dunleavy said on Wednesday: “No one should be gathering signatures anywhere at this time. Please always follow CDC guidelines. We have been working on contingency plans. Stay tuned.”
The group is believed to have about 30,000 of the 71,252 signatures it needs to force a recall election of the governor. The group had hoped to collect the signatures by April to force the question onto a special election ballot. However, unless the group can convince the court to allow it to collect signatures digitally, it may not make that goal, since the state is now in a state of emergency due to a rapidly spreading virus.
Cases of the virus have popped up in Ketchikan, Seward, Anchorage, and Fairbanks, with a total of nine cases in the state so far. All were travel related, but several appeared to be asymptomatic for some time, which means community transmission is now highly likely, if other communities’ experiences are repeated in Alaska.
The CDC and the State of Alaska’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Anne Zink has advised that people keep a six-foot distance from each other during the outbreak.
However, although the Recall Dunleavy group had stopped its pop-up event signature gathering and static gathering on March 13, it had urged individual signature gatherers to continue their efforts. Out-of-state signature gathering has also continued, according to several social media reports from individuals who had signed the petition.