Judge orders three early voting days restored in Ohio

early-voter
A voter casts her ballot on the first day of early voting for Ohio's May primary election, April 1, 2014. (WDTN Photo/Josh Ames)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – A federal judge is ordering Ohio’s elections chief to restore the final three days of in-person, early voting in the swing state.

The order comes in a long-running dispute over the days. President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign and Democrats filed a lawsuit in 2012 against the state’s elections chief over an Ohio law that cuts off in-person early voting for most residents three days prior to Election Day.

The law makes an exception for military personnel and Ohio voters living overseas. Democrats claimed that was unequal treatment, and everyone should have the chance to vote on the three days.

A federal judge agreed Wednesday and issued a permanent order calling for Secretary of State Jon Husted to set uniform hours on the Saturday, Sunday and Monday before Election Day.

Husted released the following statement:

“I am pleased that the federal court has affirmed what I have long advocated that all voters, no matter where they live, should have the same opportunity to vote. Thankfully, uniformity and equality won the day. When it comes to voting days and hours, I have urged uniformity, bipartisanship and certainty – so that all Ohioans can know the rules for voting well in advance of the election. Absent legislative action to set hours, I had adopted by directive the only bipartisan schedule that has been offered. Now that the court has ruled, I will follow the decision.”

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