Texas announced Thursday that it will audit the results of the 2020 election in four counties even as former President Donald Trump called for a statewide audit of the hotly contested election.
The audit will be overseen by the Office of the Secretary of State.
“Under existing Texas laws, the Secretary of State has the authority to conduct a full and comprehensive forensic audit of any election and has already begun the process in Texas’ two largest Democrat counties and two largest Republican counties — Dallas, Harris, Tarrant, and Collin — for the 2020 election,” the office announced in a terse statement posted on its website.
“We anticipate the Legislature will provide funds for this purpose,” it said.
Isabel Longoria, elections administrator of the Democrat-dominated Harris County, denounced the audit as “another attack by officials on our communities’ trust in elections.”
“Our office has been focused on running fair elections with innovative, equitable approaches during an unprecedented pandemic,” she said, according to the Austin American-Statesman.
The background to the audit was unclear Friday. Former Secretary of State Ruth Ruggero Hughs resigned in May, and no one has been picked to replace her. The Texas Tribune reported Thursday that when it sought to contact the offices of the secretary of state and Gov. Greg Abbott, no comment was received.
The announcement of the audit came on the same day that Trump called for a major audit of the election and for the passage of a bill that would make it easier to request audits. The former president has maintained that the 2020 election, which he lost to President Joe Biden, was riddled with misconduct that has not yet been proven.
“Despite my big win in Texas, I hear Texans want an election audit!” Trump said in a statement Thursday addressed to Abbott. “You know your fellow Texans have big questions about the November 2020 Election.
Do you support audits of the 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.”
The former president said new legislation that was filed in the third special session of the Texas Legislature needs to be passed.
“This legislation specifically addresses the 2020 Presidential Election, and enables audits for future elections,” Trump said. “The bill creates a process for candidates and party chairs to initiate an audit, and uses the same language as SB 97, which already passed the Texas State Senate, but did not have enough time to make it through the House during the Second Special Session.
“Texas needs you to act now. Your Third Special Session is the perfect, and maybe last, opportunity to pass this audit bill. Time is running out. Paper ballots in your state are only kept for 22 months after the election.
“Your citizens don’t trust the election system, and they want your leadership on this issue, which is the number one thing they care about. It is their most important issue — one that will affect 2022 and 2024.”
The former president said that Texas must deal with the past even as it looks to the future.
“Governor Abbott, we need a ‘Forensic Audit of the 2020 Election’ added to the call. We’re quickly running out of time and it must be done this week. Texans know voting fraud occurred in some of their counties. Let’s get to the bottom of the 2020 Presidential Election Scam!” Trump wrote.
Some said the audit was a political tactic and questioned the timing of the announcement.
Donald Trump ordered Gov. Abbott to audit the 2020 Texas election and, like clockwork, TX just initiated an audit of Harris County voters. Democracy isn’t a game. These fake audits are an affront to all voters, & pure pandering to the kinds of extremists that stormed our Capitol.
— Lina Hidalgo (@LinaHidalgoTX) September 24, 2021
“Donald Trump ordered Gov. Abbott to audit the 2020 Texas election and, like clockwork, TX just initiated an audit of Harris County voters,” liberal Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo said on Twitter. “Democracy isn’t a game. These fake audits are an affront to all voters, & pure pandering to the kinds of extremists that stormed our Capitol.”