Fair Lending submits signatures, multiple petitions push for next cycle

Only one of the ten initiative petitions in circulation filed signatures in time to appear on the November ballot.

A group working to cap service charges on payday loans, Michiganders for Fair Lending, said it delivered 405,625 signatures to the secretary of state by the 5 p.m. deadline on Wednesday.

Group treasurer Dallas Lenear said he was confident the signings would stand up to scrutiny.

“We selected a field team to run the signature reader who – they have very, very sophisticated software that eliminates any fraud and so they were able to successfully run signature readers – hundreds of signature readers,” said Lenear told reporters outside the Richard H. Austin Building in Lansing.

To qualify for the ballot, petitions had to submit 340,047 valid signatures. The campaign said the extras handed out were in case the state rejects some due to irregularities or other issues.

According to a press release, the group initially collected more than 575,000 signatures as part of its buffer before deciding internally to submit only a fraction.

Another group, One Fair Wage, which is collecting signatures to raise Michigan’s minimum wage to $15 an hour, decided it wasn’t comfortable with its cushion.

Instead, it aims to submit 600,000 signatures in the coming weeks in hopes of reaching the 2024 ballot.

Some of the caution involved last week news that the Elections Office discovered thousands of fraudulent signatures in the nomination petitions of several running candidates.

In some cases, these campaigns no longer qualified for the primary ballot after falling below the signature threshold for their respective offices.

A president and co-founder of Fair Wage, Saru Jayaraman, said several campaigns were affected by a group of paid distributors who forged signatures.

“There were a lot of independent entrepreneurs. There is a group of them that, yes, almost all the campaigns are used,” Jayaraman said. “We all had to launch signings from this group. And we wanted to be super careful. We didn’t know how much of this would be thrown away so we wanted to be on the safe side.

She said not all independent contractors commit fraud, but validity rates were generally lower for this group than for a contracted organization and volunteers.

Jayaraman felt it would be fine if the pay rise was delayed in the vote to ensure the signatures could stand up to inspection. Under the petition, the $15 an hour wage would not take full effect until 2027.

Another petition, Unlock Michigan II, seeking to limit the state’s health department’s emergency powers, dropped the petition altogether in lieu of potential legislative success in the next term.

Meanwhile, an effort to create a tax-incentive-based scholarship program to help parents pay for private school tuition is still garnering signatures in hopes of becoming law via the US legislature. status once filed.

Fred Wszolek advised on both efforts. He said it will end up being cheaper in the long run because they can save on avocados.

“We’re looking for lasting change here, so we’re not going to be impatient and take the leap and run the risk that some well-funded interest group might disqualify some signings,” Wszolek said.

Secure MI Vote, a petition seeking to strengthen Michigan’s voter ID laws, also rejected Wednesday’s deadline instead of creating a broader cushion.

“We understand that by not filing today, this issue will not be before Michigan voters this fall. But it could be before the Legislative Assembly before the end of the year,” spokesman Jamie Roe told a news conference.

Michigan law gives the state leeway to take longer to consider petitions filed early for future election cycles.

Asked about a potential delay, Roe and Wszolek said they believed the Elections Office would act in a timely manner.

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