COLUMBUS, Ohio (WSPD) -- New early voting hours for the final days before Election Day have been set following a federal judge's order last week.
Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted says voters will get a total of 18 hours to vote in person on the Saturday, Sunday and Monday before presidential primaries and presidential and gubernatorial general elections.
"We'll have the most expansive early voting schedule for the last week of the election that we've ever had," said Husted.
He directed polls to be open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday; from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday; and from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday for the major elections.
Different hours were set for the final days of municipal, primary and special elections.
The directive comes on the heels of a court ruling in a 2012 lawsuit filed by President Barack Obama's re-election campaign and Democrats.
“From my perspective, this matter is now settled. I urge those who have strenuously opposed uniformity in voting hours to respect the decision of the court as I have and join me in educating all Ohioans about their many opportunities to vote," Husted said.
Absentee ballot applications will go out shortly Labor Day to all voters allowing them to vote by mail from home.
Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern says while he's happy with the hours, he's disappointed that it took a court order to make it happen.
Ohio has 28 days before the election to cast a ballot. The national average is 19 days with several states having no early voting at all. When asked if 28 days was enough time to vote, Redfern dismissed the question.
"Those who ask that question consider voting to be a privilege and they would be wrong," he said noting that it's a right protected by the Constitution.
Redfern said that if there are additional barriers to voting put up, they'll go back to court to tear them down.