voting

Editor's note: This story was updated on Sept. 24 with additional information. 

The Texas Secretary of State’s Office has announced a “full forensic audit” of 2020 general election results in four counties, including Collin and Dallas counties.

The announcement, which came just before 7:30 p.m. Thursday, stated that Texas laws give the Secretary of State the authority to conduct “a full and comprehensive audit of any election” and added that the office had already begun to do so for the 2020 general election in the state’s two largest Democratic counties and two largest Republican counties: Dallas, Harris, Tarrant and Collin counties made the list.

“We anticipate the Legislature will provide funds for this purpose,” the office stated.

On Thursday night, shortly after the office’s announcement, Collin County Elections Administrator Bruce Sherbet said he did not yet have details on the audit. On Friday, he said the state had not yet provided any more information on the schedule or process, nor had there been an indication of when it would be received.

“We will certainly assist the state in any way possible on their audit as details firm up,” he stated.

The Texas Secretary of State position has been vacant since Ruth Ruggero Hughs resigned, effective May 31. Phone calls and emails sent to Sam Taylor, assistant secretary of state for communications, went unanswered as of press time.

“Confidence in election results is vital to enduring faith in our Republic,” U.S. Rep. Van Taylor said in a prepared statement to Star Local Media. “Collin County Elections Department has gone to great lengths to make it easy to vote while securing the integrity of the ballots cast. An audit will provide greater clarity and insight for all voters to review which is good and healthy for our elections. Transparency should always be celebrated and encouraged.”

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins on Friday said he had been told by the Dallas county elections administrator that they had not been asked for any information. He added that he had contacted Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley, who Jenkins said also had not been asked for information. 

So I knew right away that the statement that the audit was underway was not true,” Jenkins said. “We then tried to find out from the Secretary of State what information they wanted. They didn’t know what they want. So we’ll just have to wait and see what the political bosses tell the Secretary of State that they want and then see if that complies with the law or not.” 

Jenkins said there had been free and fair elections in Dallas County and in other “Republican-winning” counties, too. 

“We have good elections here,” he said. “And our problem is not that people vote for Donald Trump and it shows up as Biden, or that people are sneaking, tearing up ballots in the back room. The problem is that we make it hard in Texas for people to vote and register, and we have a participation problem. But I don’t have any concerns that when these votes are audited, we’ll see that those people who did vote, that the votes went to the candidate that they should have gone to, that the voter voted for.” 

According to the Texas Tribune, the announcement came hours after former President Donald J. Trump sent a letter to Gov. Greg Abbott calling for the addition of an election audit bill to the third special session of the Texas Legislature.

Official election results posted on the Texas Secretary of State’s website show that three of the four counties voted for President Joseph R. Biden Jr. in the 2020 general election. Collin County was the only one of the four that overall voted in favor of Trump in the 2020 general election with 51.4% of the votes cast. Dallas County overall showed favor for Biden with 65.1% of votes cast. 

Harris County favored Biden with 55.96% percent of votes and Tarrant County narrowly favored Biden with 49.31%. 

 

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