On September 23, Texas’s Secretary of State’s office announced a full forensic audit of the 2020 election results in the four counties of Dallas, Tarrant, Collin, and Harris. The audit is being conducted under the authority of the Texas Secretary of State. However, since the position of Texas Secretary of State is currently vacant, Texas’s Deputy Secretary of State Joseph Esparza will head the audit until Texas Governor Greg Abbott appoints a new Secretary of State.
Donald Trump won the state of Texas in 2020 by a margin of 5.6% or 620,000 votes. Of the counties that are being audited, Trump reportedly lost Dallas County by 31.7%, lost Harris County by 13.3%, lost Tarrant County by 0.2%, and won Collin County by 4.4%.
News of Texas’s audit comes after Trump sent a letter to Governor Abbott calling for one. To quote Trump’s letter, “Despite my big win in Texas, I hear Texans want an election audit! You know your fellow Texans have big questions about the November 2020 election. Bills to audit elections in your great state’s House and Senate were considered during Texas’ Second Special Session. Instead, the legislature passed a watered-down amendment that doesn’t even apply to the 2020 Presidential election. This short amendment doesn’t answer the questions Texans have about the last election. Texans demand a real audit to completely address their concerns.”
According to the Secretary of State’s office, the audit will take place in two parts. The first phase of the audit will allow for testing of the voting machines, cybersecurity checks, and identifying any ineligible voters that may have cast ballots in the 2020 election. The first part of the audit is currently underway. Once the first phase of the audit is complete, all instances of illegal voting will be reported to the Texas Attorney General’s office for further investigation and subsequent prosecution.
The second phase of the audit will consist of reviewing lists of registered voters, verifying the validity of physical ballots, and authenticating both voter signatures and ballot chains of custody. The second and final steps of the audit are expected to be completed by the Spring of 2022. It is critical that the audit does not take longer than expected. This is due to the fact that county election officials are only required to maintain most materials from the 2020 election for 22 months or until September of 2022.
Texas’s audit is already receiving pushback from Democrats, who seemingly have no interest in verifying the 2020 election results. To quote Harris County’s Elections Administrator Isabel Longoria, “While other people continue the political posturing and petty fights of the past, we will continue preparing for this November’s elections.” Despite Longoria’s grandstanding words, an investigation led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton found that all 16 instances of verifiable voter fraud that occurred in Texas in 2020 took place in Harris County, making Harris County the location of 100% of voter fraud identified in Texas so far in 2020. However, according to Attorney General Paxton, there are still over 500 voter fraud offenses that are currently pending prosecution, as well as 386 active investigations into election fraud.
Texas Governor Abbott defended the audit from Democrat criticism in a recent interview by saying, “There are audits of every aspect of government. Why do we audit everything in this world, but people raise our hands in concern when we audit elections, which is fundamental to our democracy?”
Governor Abbott and the Texas State Legislature are leading the way in election integrity efforts. On September 7, Governor Abbott signed S.B. 1 into law after it was passed by the Texas State Legislature. The comprehensive election integrity bill prohibits the distribution of unsolicited mail-in ballots and mail-in ballot applications, requires voters that vote by mail to submit some form of identification, establishes new citizenship checks for all registered voters, bans drive-thru voting, and makes it a crime for election workers to obstruct poll watchers from viewing the election process.
Texas deserves to be praised for its election integrity efforts. Hopefully, all other states that have still yet to enact election integrity laws or conduct an audit of their 2020 election results will follow the lead of Texas before it is too late.
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