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Alaska Supreme Court allows recall effort against Gov. Mike Dunleavy to proceed

The Alaska Supreme Court ruled Friday that an effort to recall Gov. Mike Dunleavy has legal grounds to proceed. Photo courtesy Alaska Governor's Office 
The Alaska Supreme Court ruled Friday that an effort to recall Gov. Mike Dunleavy has legal grounds to proceed. Photo courtesy Alaska Governor's Office 

July 17 (UPI) -- Alaska's Supreme Court ruled that a campaign to recall Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy can continue.

The high court on Friday ruled that the effort to recall Dunleavy over arguments he neglected his duties as governor and lacked fitness and competence to serve in the office satisfied the legal requirements to be presented to voters.

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The Alaska Division of Elections originally rejected the application by the Recall Dunleavy Committee which accused the governor of using his budget veto to pressure judges who ruled in favor of abortion rights and using government funds for partisan political purposes.

The Supreme Court's ruling said that the petition showed the recall committee's motivations were "legally sufficient and are particular enough to give the targeted official fair notice of the claim."

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It further added that it was not the high court's job to "judge the seriousness of an alleged ground" but that it had the responsibility to allow the people to determine if "the allegations are serious enough to warrant a recall election."

"Each voter in the voting booth must decide whether the allegations are serious enough to warrant removal from office," the ruling stated.

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Dunleavy, a former teacher and school administrator was elected in 2018 and has 17 months left on his term.

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He issued a statement on Friday condemning the court's decision.

"The Alaska Supreme Court today issued an opinion that creates a standardless recall process, subjecting elected officials at every level and across the political spectrum, to baseless, expensive, and distracting recall elections by their political opponents," he said. "The court has made it clear that even plainly false allegations of wrongdoing can trigger this process, undermining our election process, and prevents our elected officials from focusing on many serious issues facing Alaskans."

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