AUSTIN (Nexstar) — The Texas Office of the Secretary of State provided additional details Tuesday about the “full forensic audit” of the 2020 election that was unexpectedly announced last week.
At the request of former President Donald Trump, Governor Greg Abbott nudged the office of the Secretary of State to conduct an elections audit in four of Texas’ largest counties, Harris, Travis, Tarrant and Collin. The reason those counties were chosen is still unclear.
Governor Greg Abbott told Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday that audits in other industries and sectors are performed frequently, so he doesn’t understand the fuss over an elections audit.
“Donald Trump won the state of Texas. We know regardless of the outcome of these audits, Donald Trump will still have won the state of Texas,” Abbott told Fox News.
That would reaffirm what the Texas secretary of state’s office previously said, declaring the 2020 election was “smooth and secure.”
The state will run its own audit instead of hiring a private contractor. That differs from states like Arizona, which was highly criticized for using the third party group “Cyber Ninjas” for a months-long audit that proved there was no widespread fraud, re-affirming President Joe Biden’s win of the state.
Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said the audit panders to a loud minority but will have lasting negative consequences.
“There’s no merit, but it’s part of a broader scheme to undermine democracy. A basic tenet of democracy is people have to believe in free and fair elections, and for people to knowingly undermine democracy by calling into question free and fair elections…it erodes people’s trust in our American democracy,” Jenkins said.
Rep. Vikki Goodwin, D-Austin, sent a letter signed by 24 other House Democrats asking Governor Abbott to not run the election audit.
“We are concerned about the diversion of the state’s resources and its attention at a time when we are facing multiple crises,” the letter said.
The lawmakers specifically criticized that the directive is coming from a deputy director, since there isn’t a Secretary of State in Texas right now.
“The Secretary of State’s office announced that it has the authority to conduct these audits. But it has not stated the source of this authority. The new law put into place by SB 1 — the comprehensive election bill passed in the second special legislative session — does allow the secretary to conduct an audit of four counties “immediately” after an election. It has been ten months since the November election, so this audit does not fall under that provision,” the letter said.
Goodwin also told Nexstar that there they have asked and have not been given an estimate as to how much these audits will cost taxpayers.
Phase one of the audit will test voting machines and look for any “ineligible” voters. Phase two, which isn’t expected to happen until next year, will include a records examination.