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Politics

Summer special election on recall of Gov. Dunleavy could cost $1.8 million, agency says

  • Author: James Brooks
  • Updated: February 26
  • Published February 25

JUNEAU — A special election on the recall of Gov. Mike Dunleavy would cost $1.8 million, according to a new estimate by the Alaska Division of Elections. If the recall becomes an item on the state’s Aug. 18 primary or Nov. 3 general election ballot, however, it would not incur that cost.

Those estimates are included in signature booklets distributed to the recall campaign by the Division of Elections last week.

Gail Fenumiai, director of the elections division, said it costs about $1.8 million to put on the general election and $1.8 million for the primary. Any special election would involve all of the same costs — printing, staffing and equipment, she said, explaining the basis for the estimate.

The entire budget of the Alaska Division of Elections, without money for a special election, is $6 million.

Pat Pitney, director of the Legislative Finance Division, and Office of Management and Budget director Neil Steininger said draft state budgets under consideration in the Legislature do not yet include funding for a special election.

The Division of Elections would request additional funding if a special election were held, Fenumiai said.

To call a statewide vote, supporters of the recall campaign must gather the signatures of at least 71,252 registered Alaska voters. That effort has begun, with recall organizers establishing 44 locations statewide to gather signatures and campaign kickoff events this weekend in Anchorage, Fairbanks and Juneau.

In addition, the recall has been challenged in court and will be considered March 25 by the Alaska Supreme Court.

If sufficient signatures are delivered to the Division of Elections before April 19, and if the Supreme Court rules in favor of the recall, a special election would take place this summer.

The Division Of Elections has 30 days to verify signatures and certify the petition. If the primary or the general election happens 60 to 90 days after that certification, the recall election would take place on that ballot rather than in a special election.

Claire Pywell, campaign manager of the group seeking the governor’s recall, has previously said her group is seeking a summer election in order to fulfill the desire by supporters to have a vote as soon as possible. Any delay, she said, means denying backers’ constitutional right to a recall.

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