DELTA TOWNSHIP, MI – Michigan’s November ballot will not include any legislative initiatives after the state’s top election board ruled that a proposal to crack down on predatory payday lending did not get enough signatures.
the State Board of Elections voted 4-0 to accept the Elections Office’s recommendation that Michiganders for Fair Lending do not qualify for the ballot. the office sample review Of the nearly 400,000 signatures submitted, only 274,668 were estimated to be valid, meaning the initiative fell short by some 72,000.
“This is not a close decision,” said Andrea Hansen, an attorney with the opposition group Safe Lending Michigan.
Fair Lending was the only one of the 10 legislative initiative petitions to submit signatures by the June 1 deadline and stated they were confident in the accuracy of their petition documents due to an internal quality control process.
The Elections Office’s line-by-line review of a representative sample of about 500 signatures found that more than 1 in 5 were invalid, with the most common reason being that the person was not registered to vote in the correct jurisdiction.
A challenge from Safe Lending Michigan also invalidated some firms. Fair Lending challenged some 1,400 rejected signatures and succeeded in some 300, said Bureau director Jonathan Brater, but it would not have been enough to make up the difference.
“Even if all the firms that argued they should be re-placed were counted,” Brater said, “it wouldn’t affect the projection here in terms of validity, just because they ended up short by a sizable margin.”
No one from Fair Lending showed up Thursday to advocate further. The initiative would have prevented payday lenders from charging predatory interest rates, attempting to give people access to small loans instead of lenders trapping them in debt.
Thursday’s meeting was the first for newly appointed Republican Rep. Richard Houskamp. The Board is made up of two Republicans and two Democrats, nominated by their political parties and appointed by the Governor.
Although there will be no legislative initiatives on the November ballot, two proposed constitutional amendments are still alive after submitting signatures for review last week. Petitions for abortion rights and increased access to voting exceeded the minimum number of signatures by hundreds of thousands.
The next meeting of the pollsters is scheduled for August 19, when members will decide on the certification of the results of Michigan’s August 2 primary election.
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