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Feds agree to 2 Va counties' voting 'bailout'

Friday - 10/26/2012, 3:35pm  ET

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - If a federal court approves, Carroll and Craig counties will be exempted from a key provision of the federal Voting Rights Act.

The Justice Department says it filed a consent decree Friday in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C.

The agreement includes both county's school districts and towns of Hillsville and New Castle.

Virginia and its political subdivisions have been subject to the 1965 Voting Rights Act's so-called preclearance requirements. The law requires states and localities with a history of racial discrimination in elections to obtain the Justice Department's approval of any changes in voting qualifications and election practices.

Jurisdictions can seek an exemption if they can demonstrate a 10-year record of nondiscrimination in voting-related actions.

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