RICHMOND, Va. (CBSDC/AP) — The U.S. Justice Department has given approval to Virginia’s congressional redistricting plan.

In a letter on Wednesday, the federal agency said it does not have any objections to the changes under the Republican-backed plan that cleared the Virginia General Assembly in January.

The Justice Department is required to review the plan for compliance with the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which was passed during the civil rights struggle to combat Jim Crow laws that disenfranchised black voters in the South.

The plan increases the proportion of black voters in Virginia’s minority-dominant 3rd congressional district from 56 percent to about 60 percent.

Democrats had complained that by increasing the proportion of black residents in the district, the plan illegally waters down minority influence in adjoining districts.

Some minorities have also complained of new regulations that tighten requirements to cast ballots in the Commonwealth.

(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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