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Payday lending campaign challenges petition decision

Gregory F. Maxwell
A petition campaign in favor of capping payday lending rates is challenging a state decision to discard some of the campaign's signatures.

The campaign to cap payday lending rates in Michigan has filed a legal challenge to a decision by state election officials to toss out petitions because of an alleged technical violation.

The lawsuit claims that many petitions were thrown out on a technicality because circulators failed to check a box that indicates whether or not they’re paid signature gatherers. But Michiganders for Fair Lending says the check mark in that box is meant to be informational and that should not be grounds to reject the entire petition.

“These petitions that were thrown out are disenfranchising thousands of voters and we need to make sure the state is following the law,” said Josh Hovey, spokesperson for the campaign.

The campaign’s complaint says the fact that petitions were thrown out increases the likelihood that the Bureau of Election’s random sample method of checking signatures will come up short.

Hovey said that would not be fair to voters who signed the petitions to put the initiative on the November ballot.

The Michigan Board of State Canvassers has until the end of the month to certify whether the campaign has gathered enough signatures.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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