Otte also dismissed claims that at least some of the signatures submitted with the petition were obtained by fraud because broadcasters did not read the entire object statement to the signatories.

In his order, Otte cited a 2009 Lancaster County District Court ruling which determined “that broadcasters need, in general, to summarize the object or purpose of the petition in a manner that does not be not misleading ”under the laws governing petition readers.

Lawsuit seeks to overturn ballot measure capping payday loan rates after signatures withdrawn

Failure to read the object declaration verbatim did not constitute fraud, Otte wrote, and Chaney’s attorney, Scott Lautenbaugh, did not provide specific evidence that the signatures were obtained fraudulently.

Instead, Otte said the law presumes that people who sign documents are doing so knowingly.

“In this case, the 188 affidavits attached to the complainant’s complaint are identical and were signed by the petition signatories in late August 2020, approximately five to eight months after signing the petition,” Otte wrote.

“The court finds the credibility of these affidavits questionable, especially given the time elapsed,” he added.

Thursday’s rulings mark the rejection of the second and third challenges to the payday loan ballot initiative.

Final challenge to payday loan initiative scheduled for district court hearing

Earlier, a Lancaster County District Court judge had said that the initiative for the ballot was in accordance with the single subject rule and that the language of the title and the explanatory memorandum had been drafted correctly.

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Al Worden

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