REPLACING ELECTRONIC VOTING MACHINES BY MARCH 2020 MAY CAUSE A FIASCO: Roughly a third of North Carolina voters use electronic machines with no paper ballots. But that might all change next year for the 2020 presidential election. Supporters of the change say it will help ensure election security, especially given reports from the FBI and other sources that the Russian government attempted to influence America’s 2016 elections and may have hacked into some U.S. voting software. But the switch has been held up for years, despite first being ordered in a 2013 law. Now, some officials — including the new state elections director — worry that there’s not enough time left to get new voting systems in place for the 2020 elections.
NC GOP TAKES A PASS ON JIM WOMACK, ELECTS MICHAEL WHATLEY CHAIRMAN: The North Carolina Republican Party elected a new chairman on Saturday. Delegates at the party’s convention chose Michael Whatley to replace Robin Hayes, who was arrested in April in a federal bribery case. Whatley, an energy consultant in Gaston County, will serve a two-year term as chairman. "As we enter the most important election cycle in our lifetime, we'll hit the ground running building the party infrastructure, fundraising and training volunteers in order to re-elect President Trump and deliver for all of our candidates up and down the ballot," Whatley said in a statement. Miriam Chu, a retired technical services manager and contractor, was elected as the state party’s vice chairwoman. Hayes, a former congressman and GOP candidate for governor, is accused of trying to bribe state Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey.
FLOOD DAMAGE PROVES HURRICANES ARE NOT NECESSARY ANY MORE FOR HAVOC TO BE WREAKED: Some of the most significant flooding damage from Saturday's rain occurred in northeastern Wake County and Franklin County on U.S. Highway 401, and the damage could be an issue for Monday commuters. Heavy rain over the weekend caused US-401 to collapse between Highway 96 and 98 in northeastern Wake County. Video of the damage showed water gushing through the collapsed road. Damage and flooding was also reported in Durham, where a building flooded for the fifth time in 10 years, the owner of the health services business Oriental Health Solutions said on Saturday. A section of the Bryan Center at Duke University was closed on Sunday due to flooding damage. Repairs to the student center were underway. Three people in western North Carolina died in floodwaters on Saturday when their car washed away on a flooded road.
US HOUSE COMMITTEES GEAR UP FOR TRUMP INVESTIGATIONS: President Donald Trump says it’s “case closed.” But Democrats are just getting started with Robert Mueller. House Democrats have scheduled a series of hearings this coming week on the special counsel’s report as they intensify their focus on the Russia probe and pick up the pace on an investigative “path” — in the words of Speaker Nancy Pelosi — that some of them hope leads to impeachment of the president. In doing so, they are trying to draw the public’s attention on the allegations that Trump sought to obstruct a federal investigation and they want to highlight his campaign’s contacts with Russia in the 2016 election. And they will lay the groundwork for an appearance from Mueller himself, despite his stated desire to avoid the spotlight. The hearings will focus on the two main topics of Mueller’s report, obstruction of justice and Russian election interference.
SEXUAL ABUSE AT BAPTIST CHURCHES IS OUT OF CONTROL: Evangelical churches have long distanced themselves from the sexual abuse crisis that has consumed the Catholic Church. Many Southern Baptists have dismissed sexual abuse as a problem caused by “corrupt Hollywood” or “liberal theology.” But a reckoning has arrived. Nearly 400 Southern Baptist leaders, from youth pastors to top ministers, have pleaded guilty or were convicted of sex crimes against more than 700 victims since 1998, according to a recent investigation by The Houston Chronicle and The San Antonio Express-News. Superstar pastors like Bill Hybels and Andy Savage have been forced to resign over allegations of misconduct. The Southern Baptist Convention has no explicit procedure or enforcement mechanism to respond to an abuse allegation when it arises in one of the denomination’s churches, each of which is autonomous. The S.B.C. has resisted calls for reforms for years, but addressing the issue of sexual abuse will be a major focus this week at the convention’s annual meeting in Birmingham, Ala.