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AUSTIN (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — A federal appeals court has struck down Texas’ voter ID law, ruling that the Republican-backed measure first passed in 2011 violates the Voting Rights Act.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans said Wednesday that the Texas law, one of the toughest voter ID measures in the country, violates Section 2 of the landmark civil rights law. The U.S. Justice Department had joined minority groups in a drawn-out legal battle that has stretched for years.

A lower court had previously found that the voter ID was passed by the Republican-controlled Texas Legislature with the intent of discriminating against minorities. But in striking down the law, the appeals court did not find the voter ID requirement to be the equivalent of a poll tax.

In 2013, Dallas County commissioners voted 3-2 to join the federal Voting Rights Act challenge to the voter ID law. Last year, the United States Supreme Court ruled that Texas could use the controversial ID law for the November election.

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