COLUMBUS, Ohio (WTVN) -- A federal judge is ordering Ohio to restore the final three days of in-person, early voting.
The lawsuit was filed during the 2012 election. The courts had ordered a temporary stay during that election that opened the polls on those final days. 96,000 Ohioans cast a ballot that Saturday, Sunday, and Monday.
Ohio law had cut off early, in-person voting on those days, but made 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.
"It's not about Democrats getting to the polls, it's about Ohioans getting to the polls," said Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern.
A federal judge 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 issued a statement after the ruling saying he was pleased that the court affirmed that voting times should be uniform.
“All voters, no matter where they live, should have the same opportunity to vote. Thankfully, uniformity and equality won the day," Husted said. “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."
He added that because lawmakers haven't acted, he adopted a bipartisan schedule from the county election boards.
"Now that the court has ruled, I will follow the decision," Husted said.
Ohioans will have 28 days to vote early. Lawmakers reduced early voting from 35 days by eliminating the so-called "golden week" when Ohioans could both register and vote on the same day. The ACLU has filed a lawsuit to restore it.