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Federal appeals court rules on Texas voter ID law

AUSTIN, Texas - A federal appeals court has reinstated a Texas voter ID law that the Justice Department challenged because it said the law could suppress minority turnout in elections.

Tuesday's ruling from the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals is at least a temporary victory for Republican-backed photo ID measures that have swept across the U.S. A lower court judge ruled last week that the law was unconstitutional.

The appeals court didn't rule on the merits of the law, which remains under appeal. Instead, it said it was too late to change the rules before early voting begins on Oct. 20. That means the estimated 13.6 million registered Texas voters will need one of seven forms of photo identification to cast a ballot for the Nov. 4 elections.

More than 608,000 registered voters don't have the required ID and will be barred from voting unless the Supreme Court steps in to overrule the federal appeals court.

In seven states, including Texas, there are pending lawsuits challenging new voting regulations -- in three of them, the Supreme Court has already intervened to a certain degree. Not counting Texas, there are as many as 14 states with new voting restrictions this year, according to the Brennan Center for Justice.