Monday News: Keep your fingers crossed?


JUDGE OVERRULES BOARD OF ELECTIONS ON QUESTIONABLE VOTING SOFTWARE: Voting software that’s been under a cloud for months can be used in elections next week. The State Board of Elections & Ethics Enforcement is appealing an administrative law judge’s decision Friday allowing counties to use software from a company called VR Systems that checks voters’ registration information. Durham was using VR software on Election Day last year when a malfunction forced the county to switch to paper poll books. The glitch halted voting in some areas, and eight precincts extended voting hours. The state elections board doesn’t want counties to use the software. The board hasn’t certified it, as required by law. In a court complaint, VR Systems said the elections board improperly revoked its license, and that some counties still want to use its product.

AFTER DODGING NCAA PUNISHMENT, UNC ATHLETICS DIRECTOR GETS A COOL MILLION: Three weeks after North Carolina's flagship public university escaped NCAA penalties and closed an academic fraud case, the school's athletic director is getting a $1 million compensation boost. The News & Observer of Raleigh reports the university system's governing board approved the deferred-compensation deal for Bubba Cunningham, the athletic director at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The agreement approved Friday calls for Cunningham to receive tax-advantaged retirement contributions of $200,000 a year over the next five years. The money will come from athletic department money, not state appropriations. The NCAA's infractions committee recently decided not to punish the university over its long-running athletic and academic scandal involving no-show classes. The school had for years apologized and accepted responsibility for wrongdoing, then switched and called the classes legitimate.

REPUBLICAN NC INSURANCE COMMISSIONER ACCUSED OF CORRUPTION BY BAIL BONDS COMPANY: A Greensboro bail bonds insurance company that was seized by the N.C. Department of Insurance in September is accusing Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey of taking campaign contributions from the company's competitors. Cannon Surety's offices were raided on Sept. 28 and its assets were seized under a court order alleging shoddy bookkeeping practices and inadequate funds to cover potential bond forfeiture payments. Cannon argues in court filings that agency investigators didn't follow a law requiring them to give the company an opportunity to address problems before the raid. The court filing says the enforcement action is "an egregious case of incestuous political corruption" because competitors of Cannon and its owner, Dallas McClain, donated to Causey's election campaign last year and later met with him.

AT LEAST NINE TRUMP CAMPAIGN MEMBERS HAD CONTACT WITH RUSSIAN OPERATIVES: While Trump has sought to dismiss these Russia ties as insignificant, or characterized the people involved in them as peripheral figures, it has now become clear that Special Counsel Robert Mueller views at least some of them as important pieces of his sprawling investigation of Russian meddling in last year's presidential campaign. The new court filings, along with recent interviews and other documents reviewed by The Washington Post, reveal more details than were previously known about the extent to which Trump's campaign became a magnet for people who believed U.S. policy toward Russia should be retooled — and for Russians who agreed. In all, documents and interviews show there are at least nine Trump associates who had contacts with Russians during the campaign or presidential transition. Some are well-known, and others, such as Papadopoulos, have been more on the periphery.

CHRISTIAN TERRORIST MURDERS OVER 20 IN TEXAS CHURCH WITH ASSAULT RIFLE: A law enforcement official says more than 20 people have been killed in a shooting at a church in a small town outside San Antonio. The official, who was briefed on the investigation, says the gunman fled the church in a vehicle after the shooting and was also killed, either by a self-inflicted wound or during a confrontation with police. The official was not authorized to discuss the ongoing investigation and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity. The official says between 10 to 15 people were also injured but stressed the investigation was early and the figures could change. Authorities are still trying to determine a motive. Federal law enforcement swarmed the scene to offer assistance, including ATF investigators and members of the FBI’s evidence collection team.