DOJ OKs Republican-backed Va congressional redistricting plan

RICHMOND, Va. (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.