They've got muck; we've got rakes. TPM Muckraker

Civil rights groups filed a lawsuit Thursday against Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp, the Republican nominee for governor, challenging the state’s “exact match” voter registration law. The controversial law allows voter registration applications to be put on hold for even minor discrepancies between the application form and state records – and ultimately to be purged if the discrepancies are not eventually corrected.

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Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross admitted Thursday in ongoing litigation that then-White House adviser Steve Bannon called him in the spring of 2017 to put him in touch with Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach to discuss adding a citizenship question to the 2020 census.

Ross’ admission is contrary to previous testimony he gave to Congress in which he said he was not aware of being contacted by anyone in the White House about adding a citizenship question.

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About two dozen conservative members of Congress wrote Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Tuesday urging him to “dedicate all resources reasonable and necessary” to investigate and prosecute voter fraud and “other illegality.”

Their letter zeroed in on non-citizen voter registration and raised concerns about so-called “sanctuary” cities, which the House Republicans said were “ripe for widespread participation by noncitizens in our elections.”

Voter fraud is extremely rare, numerous studies have shown. Having mostly won battles to expand voter ID laws, supporters of election restrictions have turned their focus to the registration rolls and specifically to claims that they are teeming with non-citizens. Those advocates have struggled to prove claims of mass non-citizen voting in court, and when non-citizens are found to be registered, they often made it to the rolls unknowingly and by administrative mistake.

In enflaming fears about noncitizen voter registration, conservatives have pushed for voter purges that stand to remove eligible voters from the rolls as well.

The House Republicans’ letters praised the charges recently brought by Richard Higdon, a U.S. attorney in North Carolina, against 19 foreign nationals for illegal voting allegations in the 2016 election. Several of those defendants were unaware they were ineligible to vote, Huffington Post reported, while noting that some defendants required translators at the court hearings, also suggesting confusion about their ineligibility to vote.

“The work by Mr. Higdon should be admired and duplicated across the nation;” the House Republicans said, “even just one illegal vote by a noncitizen violates the rights and privileges of each lawful American voter.”

Read the letter below:

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U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis signaled he wants to move forward with sentencing Paul Manafort for the eight counts he was convicted of in Virginia this summer, and wants prosecutors to decide whether to retry him on the remaining deadlocked counts, despite Manafort’s plea deal with special counsel Robert Mueller putting off such moves pending Manafort’s cooperation.

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