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Federal appeals court blocks parts of new N.C. voting law

RALEIGH, N.C. — A federal appeals court panel is ordering parts of North Carolina’s strict new voting law set aside for next month’s elections because it is likely to disenfranchise black voters.

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals split 2-1 on Wednesday. The court says same-day registration should be allowed and ballots cast outside a voter’s assigned precinct should be considered. It says plaintiffs failed to show irreparable harm if the number of early voting days are reduced by a week.

The voter ID part of the law is not set to take effect until 2016.

The Republican-backed law was challenged by civil rights groups and the U.S. Justice Department. It is considered one of the toughest in the nation.

North Carolina has one of the most closely watched U.S. Senate races.