Columbus — Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted has set hours for early in-person voting, following a federal judge’s order last week that the state open the polls on the final three days before the November general election.
Husted let stand early voting hours he announced earlier this year — 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the final two Saturdays before Election Day.
But his new directive adds 1 to 5 p.m. on the final Sunday and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the final Monday before the election.
Those hours will be in place for presidential primary elections and gubernatorial general elections.
Husted set slightly different hours on a couple of days for presidential general elections, regular municipal elections, other primaries and special elections.
“From my perspective, this matter is now settled,” Husted said in a released statement. “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.”
He added, “When it comes to voting early, the national average is 19 days. This November, Ohioans will be able to vote in person, including on weekends, starting 28 days before the election. Additionally, I will be sending all registered voters an application to vote by mail so they have four weeks to vote without ever having to leave home. I know of no other state that goes to this great of lengths to encourage voters to cast ballots before Election Day.”
Last week, U.S. District Judge Peter C. Economus determined earlier law changes that ended early in-person voting on the Friday before Election Day were unconstitutional. He issued a permanent injunction to ensure the final three days of early voting are available for “all future election days for all eligible voters.”
Economus allowed Husted to set hours for the affected days, “to preserve the right of all Ohio voters to cast his or her vote, with said hours to be uniform throughout the state and suitable to the needs of the particular election in question.”
Marc Kovac is the Dix Capital Bureau Chief. Email him at email@example.com or on Twitter at OhioCapitalBlog.