In Response To Coronavirus, Recall Dunleavy Campaign Moves To Alaskan Mailboxes

Mar 23, 2020

The Recall Dunleavy campaign has started mailing signature booklets, while the Keep Dunleavy campaign has suspended all operations.
Credit Nat Herz/Alaska Public Media

Gov. Mike Dunleavy is still facing a statewide recall. The campaign to remove him from office is in the second of three phases: right now, they're trying to gather enough signatures for a special election. 

 

 

But the coronavirus pandemic put the kibosh on big public events, which in turn, made signature gathering quite difficult.

 

Earlier this month, the Recall Dunleavy campaign followed guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and suspended all signature gathering events. Volunteers were still allowed to do one-on-one signings. But even meeting just one person could put volunteers' health at risk.  

On Friday morning, the campaign announced that Alaskans can now mail in their signatures. 

Claire Pywell, the campaign manager, said that this way, both volunteers and signers can stay healthy.   

"Given the pandemic in front of us, the recall had to meet people exactly where they are," said Pywell. "And right now that's at home."

Registered voters can go online to the campaign's website, request a personal booklet, and have it sent to their houses.

Sharon Svarny-Livingston is in charge of the Unalaska effort. Before Friday, she was offering to meet people for individual signatures, but requested that they bring their own pen. With the new measures, she can stay safely at home and focus on her family. 

"I think it's probably best for everybody. I know it was giving my daughters a little bit of stress," said Svarny-Livingston. "I want to eventually be able to go visit my mother again, so this is one reason why I really couldn't. So if I quarantine for 14 days here, I'll be able to go visit my mother."

As of Friday afternoon, the campaign had gathered over 30,000 signatures. It needs 71,252 to move on to the next phase of the recall. 

 

On the other end of the political spectrum, the campaign to keep Dunleavy in office has been suspended, by the request of Dunleavy himself. Instead, he asks that volunteers focus on supporting their family and community. 

 

On Wednesday, the Alaska Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on the case the state has with the recall campaign.