A federal appeals court has ruled that the state of Ohio extend early voting hours to all residents, overturning a measure that limited the practice to military members and voters living overseas.

Talking Points Memo reported that the ruling by the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals allows for voting to take place on the weekend before the Nov. 6 general election.

"The State's asserted goal of accommodating the unique situation of members of the military, who may be called away at a moment's notice in service to the nation, is certainly a worthy and commendable goal," the court said in its ruling (PDF). "However, while there is a compelling reason to provide more opportunities for military voters to cast their ballots, there is no corresponding satisfactory reason to prevent non-military voters from casting their ballots as well."

Earlier this year, President Barack Obama's re-election campaign and the Ohio Democratic Party sued Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted, calling state Senate Bill 295 "a cynical ploy." State Sen. Nina Turner (D) called the bill a resurrection of Jim Crow, saying it was designed to suppress voting in precincts with a heavy African-American population.

According to MSNBC, about 93,000 residents vote during the three-day period preceding the election, many of them African-American voters who do so after their local church services.

[Image via Agence France-Presse]