COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio’s elections chief Friday canceled his order that barred counties from setting voting hours on disputed early-voting days in the presidential battleground state, while a legal battle brought by President Obama’s campaign continues.

The move comes after a federal judge this week ordered Secretary of State Jon Husted to personally appear at a court hearing over the swing state’s early voting rules.

Husted, a Republican, said he was trying to provide guidance to the state’s 88 county election boards after a court ruling last week that restores early voting for all voters during the three days before Election Day.

The state is appealing the decision to the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati. Fifteen military groups who had joined the state in the lawsuit also filed their formal appeal notice Friday.

Husted had issued a directive to boards Tuesday, saying they were “strictly prohibited” from determining hours for the Friday, Saturday, Sunday or Monday before the election because a court could later change them. Plus, he said it would confuse voters.

Husted rescinded that order Friday and requested in court filings that the federal court in Columbus hold off, or stay, its ruling until the state’s appeal has been completed.

William Consovoy, Husted’s lawyer, said in the filing that absent a stay or a directive from Husted, “there is a real concern that county boards of elections will begin issuing early in-person absentee voting schedules for the three-day period before the Secretary can issue a uniform schedule.”

Consovoy said such county action would lead to “significant administrative difficulties and further voter confusion.”

Attorneys for Obama’s campaign have urged U.S. District Judge Peter Economus in court filings this week to enforce his ruling.


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