Court blocks 'discriminatory' North Carolina voter ID law

This photo taken March 15, 2016, shows a NC Voter ID rules posted at the door of the voting station at the Alamance Fire Station in Greensboro, N.C. A federal appeals court on Friday, July 29, 2016, blocked a North Carolina law that required voters to produce photo identification and follow other rules disproportionately affecting minorities, finding that the law was intended to make it harder for blacks to vote in the presidential battleground state. (Andrew Krech/News & Record via AP)

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - A federal appeals court on Friday blocked a North Carolina law that required voters to produce photo identification and follow other rules disproportionately affecting minorities, finding that the law was intended to make it harder for blacks to vote in the presidential battleground state.

The Virginia-based 4th Circuit Court of Appeals declared that the measures violated the Constitution and the federal Voting Rights Act by targeting black voters "with almost surgical precision." It marks the third ruling in less than two weeks against voter ID laws after court decisions regarding Texas and Wisconsin.

Friday's opinion from a three-judge panel states that "the legislature enacted one of the largest restrictions of the franchise in modern North Carolina history" when it rewrote voting laws in 2013.

The appeals court also dismissed arguments by Republican lawmakers that the law was aimed at preventing voter fraud.

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