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Federal court blocks Texas voting maps

Correction: The first version of this story and its headline incorrectly described the issue decided by the federal court.

A federal court has found evidence of discrimination in Texas voting maps drawn by the state's Republican-controlled Legislature.

By holding that the redistricting discriminates against black and Hispanic voters, the court effectively killed the new districts before they could take effect for the Nov. 6 presidential election. November's election will instead use interim maps drawn by a federal court in San Antonio. 

The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued the ruling.

The U.S. District Court in Washington ruled in a lengthy opinion Tuesday that state prosecutors failed to show Texas lawmakers did not draw congressional and state Senate district maps "without discriminatory purposes."

Luis Vera, an attorney for the League of United Latin American Citizens, called the ruling "better late than never" and a win for his and other minority rights groups that sued the state over the maps.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott immediately vowed to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Obama administration in 2011 blocked the maps, arguing they violated the 1965 Voting Rights Act, a law designed to protect the voting rights of minorities, primarily blacks in Southern states. 

This article includes reporting by The Associated Press and Reuters.

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