Florida judge approves new congressional districts; says they will take effect in 2016

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TALLAHASSEE, Florida — A Florida judge is giving his approval to a new congressional map that was redrawn by state legislators — but it won't take effect in time for this year's election.

Circuit Judge Terry Lewis on Friday said voters will pick members of Congress in November based on a map he declared invalid back in July. Lewis opted against calling a special election based on the new map.

State legislators earlier this month altered seven of 27 congressional districts after Lewis ruled the districts had been illegally drawn to benefit Republicans.

Lewis' ruling is a victory for the GOP-controlled Legislature, but it also means the legal battle could continue.

Attorneys for the groups that sued the Legislature said recently they would not rule out the possibility of an appeal.

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