Controversy Follows Some Petition Circulators

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Consumer advocates have asked Franklin County election officials to investigate whether people circulating petitions for a proposed payday loan ballot question deceived voters to secure signatures.

Friday’s action by the Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio, which opposes the issue, raised the stakes in an increasingly tense battle.

If it qualifies for the November ballot, the issue would repeal key provisions of Ohio’s tough new payday lending law. Restrictions limit annualized interest to 28 percent, down from a current rate equivalent to 391 percent, and limit consumers to four loans a year.

Accounts have cropped up of people who are circulating petitions telling voters the issue would lower interest rates on payday loans when the opposite is true, the group said.

Backers say anyone identified as misleading voters will be disciplined.