COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio's election chief has set the hours and days that residents can vote early for the May primary election, saying it was necessary because the Legislature has failed to put uniform times into law.

Early voting hours for the primary will mostly be 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays for all 88 counties. Voters will have one weekend day, from 8 a.m. to noon on the Saturday before the election.

Voters can cast an absentee ballot early by mail or in person without giving any reason.

The 2012 presidential election cycle in Ohio was marked by several disputes over early voting rules, including a lawsuit brought by President Barack Obama's re-election campaign.

An election specialist with the League of Women Voters of Ohio called the schedule insufficient for voters.

"We need some evening hours, and we need at least the last two or three weekends," Peg Rosenfield told reporters. She said the voter advocacy group was sympathetic to boards that could be strained to provide additional extended hours.

"But elections are not for the boards of elections," Rosenfield said. "They're not for candidates. They're for voters. And I think we tend to forget that."