The United States District Court for the District of Columbia has upheld South Carolina's voter ID law. But the court says the law can't be implemented until 2013.
A panel of three federal judges in Washington say in their unanimous ruling that time is too short to put the law in effect ahead of the November 6 elections.
The law requires voters to show one of five types of photo identification in order to cast a ballot.
"Today's ruling by the three judge panel is a major victory for South Carolina and its election process. It affirms our voter ID law is valid and constitutional under the Voting Rights Act. The fact remains, voter ID laws do not discriminate or disenfranchise; they ensure integrity at the ballot box," South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson said in a press release.
"This ruling also affirms South Carolina's voter ID law should have been pre-cleared by the U.S. Justice Department," he added.
South Carolina went to court after the Department of Justice blocked the law, saying it diminishes minorities' voting rights.
The judges say the law does not discriminate or wipe out voting rights gains of African-Americans.
South Carolina's law was the first voting law in nearly 20 years that the Department of Justice refused to OK.
South Carolina is required to get federal approval for the law because of its history of discrimination against minority voters.