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

A birther supporter was among the Donald Trump backers who introduced the nominee at the Friday event where he attempted to walk back his birtherism.

Retired Air Force Lieutenant General Thomas McInerney was one of the military vets who spoke at the Trump International Hotel in Washington D.C.

But back in 2010, McInerney wrote an affidavit that questioned the constitutionality of President Obama's authority, based on the "widespread and legitimate concerns" about his birth records, TPM reported at the time.

McInerney wrote the affidavit in support of Army Lieutenant Colonel Terrence Lakin, who was refusing to deploy to Afghanistan because he did not believe Obama was a legitimate president, citing birtherism.

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Republicans in Wisconsin discussed ginning up concerns about voter fraud in the midst of a high-stakes Supreme Court race in 2011, so that if the justice they were supporting lost, they would be well-positioned to demand a recount.

The discussion occurred in a series of emails published in massive document dump by the Guardian Wednesday, alongside its report on how Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) danced around campaign finance laws. The emails in question occurred April 6, 2011, the day after Election Day, when Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice David Prosser's race was deemed too close to call.

The push by GOP operatives of a strategy that plays up fears of "election fraud" -- which is extremely rare, but an oft-cited justification for restrictive voting laws -- falls in line with what critics of voting restrictions have said for a long time: that voter fraud is not a major problem, but is instead used as an excuse by Republicans to promote a veiled agenda.

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More than a month after Texas submitted an agreement to soften its voter ID law that an appeals court called discriminatory, the legal fight around the law continues as its critics accuse Texas of allowing officials to undermine the agreement.

A district judge on Thursday scheduled a hearing later this month on the concerns raised by the private challengers in the lawsuit against the law.

The challengers -- which include voter advocacy groups and civil rights organizations -- filed a motion Wednesday questioning the comments made by Harris County Clerk Stan Stanart to the Houston Press last month.

Stanart said he intends to investigate every voter who claims he or she does not have the required photo ID and signs the court-approved affidavit exempting them from the ID requirement. He said he would check the state's database of people to whom it has issued IDs against the voters who sign the affidavit to see if they are lying about not having the required ID. Stanart said that it's "up to" the county clerk's office "whether anything happens" from the investigation.

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Yet another North Carolina Republican party official was caught directing members of local election boards to limit early voting hours in what has been a pattern of GOP attempts to undermine an appeals court ruling knocking down state voting restrictions.

NCGOP 1st Congressional District Chairman Garry Terry sent an email -- surfaced by The News and Observer Wednesday via an open records request -- directed to GOP members of county election boards, in which he told them that they “are expected to act within the law and in the best interest of the party.”

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The Justice Department is accusing the state of Texas of defying a federal court order by misleading voters and poll workers about the state's voter ID law requirements in advance of November's elections.

In a court filing Tuesday, the Justice Department asked a federal judge to order Texas to correct information it is circulating about its voter ID law, accusing the state of offering poor explanations to voters and poll workers about the updated requirements for voting, the Texas Tribune reported.

"Voters are receiving in accurate or misleading information that suggests they will not be able to cast ballots that count in November. Limited funds are being used on inaccurate materials," the filing reads.

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After a costly legal battle that has ricocheted all the way up to the Supreme Court, North Carolina may end up in court yet again over GOP officials' ongoing efforts to restrict access to the ballot box -- particularly for minority voters.

The latest round of brass knuckles politics and legal maneuvering comes in the midst of a larger battle over a regimen of voting restrictions considered to be among the harshest in the nation. The Supreme Court weighed in Wednesday, refusing to allow those restrictions to take effect before the November elections. But even as the Supreme Court was issuing its order, a hard-fought skirmish over early voting is underway across the state.

Dozens of GOP-controlled county election boards are currently trying to limit early voting, and the state election board is poised to wade into what could be a lengthy county-by-county fight over how much early voting should be allowed. All of this comes after a federal appeals court already ruled that cutbacks in early voting and other voting restrictions were intentionally discriminatory against African American voters.

It's a complicated interplay of politics, legal wrangling, and bureaucratic processes -- but the impact on the November election and on voting rights law generally is potentially significant.

Here's how it breaks down.

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While setting bond in May for a man charged with a violent assault on his Lebanese neighbor, a Tulsa County, Oklahoma judge admitted that it would create a “precarious” situation to have the man return to his home. Yet he set bond anyway without conditions.

Ten weeks later, on Aug. 13, Stanley Vernon Majors was charged for allegedly murdering that same neighbor’s son.

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When Mohammad Abu-Salha learned that an Oklahoma man had been arrested on suspicion of fatally shooting his Lebanese-American neighbor last week, he felt a sickening sense of déjà vu.

In February 2015, Abu-Salha's daughters, Yusor and Razan, and his son-in-law, Deah Barakat, were fatally shot, execution-style, in their apartment in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Prosecutors say neighbor Craig Stephen Hicks confessed to the triple homicide.

“We felt it’s a copycat case,” Mohammad Abu-Salha told TPM in a Wednesday phone interview.

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