N.C. names recently removed from voting rolls must be reinstated, rules judge

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Voters cast their ballots during early voting at the Beatties Ford Library in Charlotte, North Carolina, U.S. on October 20, 2016. To match Insight USA-ELECTION/NORTHCAROLINA   REUTERS/Chris Keane/File Photo - RTX2ROEQ

Voters cast their ballots during early voting at the Beatties Ford Library in Charlotte, North Carolina. Photo by Chris Keane/Reuters/File Photo

RALEIGH, N.C. — A federal judge has ordered local elections boards in North Carolina to restore voters to the rolls after they were purged too close to Election Day.

U.S. District Judge Loretta Biggs issued the ruling Friday after an emergency hearing earlier in the week on NAACP allegations that at least three counties purged voter rolls through a process disproportionately targeting blacks.

Early voting is already underway in the critical swing state, which the NAACP has previously sued over other voter access issues.

The voters’ names were removed through challenges filed by activists, which the NAACP said was illegal under federal law less than 90 days before an election.

The NAACP sued earlier this week over thousands of challenges filed in Cumberland, Moore and Beaufort counties.

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