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Congressional Districts Revised

June 9, 1998

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) _ The Justice Department approved redrawn congressional districts that reduced the percentage of blacks in one contested district, though a panel of federal judges must also agree before elections can go forward.

Legislators submitted the revised plan on May 22 to both the Justice Department and a panel of three judges who had ruled the 12th District unconstitutional in April.

The population of the old 12th District was 46 percent minority, but minorities make up only 35 percent of the proposed new district. The U.S. Supreme Court struck down the 12th District in 1996 as unconstitutional because the boundaries amounted to ``racial gerrymandering″; the federal panel threw out a revised plan.

The old district ran along Interstate 85 from Charlotte to Greensboro. The new plan would have the district run from Charlotte to Winston-Salem.

The new plan still must win approval from the judges. If it does not, the judges will draw their own plan, which will not need approval from the Justice Department.

Legislators hope to have the plan in place so that this year’s primary elections can go off as scheduled on Sept. 15.

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