AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A federal appeals court has reinstated a Texas voter ID law that the U.S. Justice Department describes as the state's latest tool to suppress minorities in elections.

Tuesday's ruling from the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals is at least a temporary victory for Republican-backed photo ID measures that have swept across the U.S. A lower court judge ruled last week that the law was unconstitutional.

The appeals court didn't rule on the merits of the law, which remains under appeal. But the court says it's too late to change the rules before the start of early voting Oct. 20. The timing confirms that an estimated 13.6 million registered Texas voters will need one of seven forms of photo identification to cast a ballot for the Nov. 4 elections.

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