Fair Loan Vote Initiative fails to reach required signatures ⋆ Michigan Advance

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After a review of the signatures, the State Board of Solicitors determined Thursday that the Michiganders for Fair Lending did not collect enough valid signatures to qualify for the November ballot.

The initiative was intended to cap interest rates on payday loans in the state.

The board voted unanimously to accept the Elections Office’s recommendation that the coalition not qualify for the ballot, following the office’s sample review which revealed that the initiative was short of about 72,000 signatures.

“Michiganders for Fair Lending is disappointed that this year’s petition campaign did not meet the signature requirement. As widely reported in the media, this has been a difficult year for all petition campaigns in Michigan,” Michiganders for Fair Lending spokesperson Josh Hovey said in a statement.

Last month, the group submitted 405,625 signatures. The number of signatures required for a legislative initiative to be considered for the ballot was at least 340,047 signatures, or 8% of the vote in the last gubernatorial election.

Hovey said that despite the council’s decision not to approve the initiative’s signatures, the coalition “remains motivated and committed to payday loan reform” and will work to push reform forward in the Legislative Assembly.

The Michigan for Fair Lending proposal sought to cap the annual percentage rate on payday loans at 36% and empower Michigan’s attorney general to prosecute lenders who exceed that rate. The proposal’s organizers said payday lenders are currently allowed to charge “interest rates and fees equivalent to an annual percentage rate of 340% or more.”

Groups supporting the ballot initiative included the Michigan League for Public Policy, Habitat for Humanity of Michigan, and the Michigan Association of United Ways. Sandra Pearson, president of Habitat for Humanity Michigan, formerly told the Associated Press that even though payday lenders market short-term loans as a quick fix, they often leave borrowers in worse financial shape than before.

A number of other initiatives have chosen to to hold onto their signatures and not submit them to participate in the November ballot, including Unlock MI, Let MI Kids Learn, Secure MI vote, Raise the Wage Michigan, Audit MI, Michigan United, and Michigan Initiative for Community Healing.

Two proposed constitutional amendments, Reproductive freedom for all and Promote votingwill likely appear on the ballot after submitting far more than the required number of signatures earlier this month.

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