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Justice Department sues Texas over voting law

AUSTIN, Texas — The Justice Department sued Texas on Thursday over the state’s voter ID law and will seek to intervene in a lawsuit over its redistricting laws. Minority groups complain the ID law is discriminatory but Texas Republicans insist it is designed to protect the state’s elections from fraud.

Attorney General Eric Holder said the action is another step in the effort to protect the voting rights of all eligible Americans.

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‘‘This represents the department’s latest action to protect voting rights, but it will not be our last,’’ he said.

Holder is concentrating on Texas because of years of litigation over the state’s voter ID law and redistricting maps that federal judges in Washington have determined would either indirectly disenfranchise minorities and the poor, or intentionally discriminate against minorities.

Texas is the only state found to have intentionally discriminated against minorities in this decade’s round of redistricting, and the state was banned from enforcing either law. But the US Supreme Court decision requiring revisions to the Voting Rights Act of 1965 took away the judges’ authority to intervene.

That has forced Holder and minority groups to use other aspects of the Voting Rights Act or the Constitution to fight the cases in other federal courts.

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