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Court blocks part of new N.C. voting law

RALEIGH, N.C. — Parts of North Carolina's new voting law, considered one of the toughest in the nation, were set aside for next month's elections because they were likely to disenfranchise black voters, a federal appeals court panel ruled Wednesday.

In a 2-1 ruling, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals suspended provisions of the Republican-backed law that would have eliminated same-day registration during early voting and voided ballots cast on Nov. 4 outside of a person's assigned precinct.

A coalition of civil rights groups and the U.S. Justice Department challenged the law in North Carolina, which has one of the nation's most closely watched U.S. Senate races that could determine whether Democrats retain control of the chamber.

Two leading Republican lawmakers said they would appeal the ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court.