AUSTIN, Texas — The Texas Secretary of State’s office announced that it is doing a forensic audit on the 2020 election results in Dallas, Harris, Tarrant and Collin Counties.
The announcement came just hours after former President Donald Trump asked Gov. Greg Abbott to add the issue to the special session agenda, even though Trump won all of Texas’ electoral votes in 2020.
Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said in a tweet on Friday, "Hours after Trump calls for audit of 2020 Texas election, state says it’s auditing 4 urban counties. Our weak Governor, has caved (again) to our disgraced fmr Pres- so look for manufactured ‘evidence’ to justify voter suppression."
Election officials in Harris County on Friday said the announcement completely blindsided them and are calling the audit a purely political ploy.
“At what point are you going to be willing to hear the truth that nothing was wrong with the November 2020 elections," said Isabel Longoria, Harris County Elections Administrator.
There is no evidence of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 elections.
“There's absolutely no data to back this," said Rep. Michelle Beckley, D-Carrollton. "I was on the elections committee, we heard testimony after testimony from both the Secretary of State and the AG. This is all based on Trump's big lie and Governor Abbott is just acting like his lap dog. This is absolutely wasted taxpayer dollars.”
“If they say there was no voter fraud here or anywhere, why are they worried about a count? Because if the count shows that everything was correct, then they made their point," said Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, R-Texas, in an interview with Capital Tonight on Thursday.
County officials emphasized on Friday that the election was secure.
“We stand by the fact that we think we had an election that was, you know, very well conducted, and we always take as a top priority the integrity of the election process," said Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley.
“We will conduct every check and balance out there, but at some point people have to trust that the checks and balances are in place. And when the results come out and show that there's nothing to be concerned about, you can either believe the truth or believe the conspiracy theory," said Longoria.
“The sensational announcement of an audit by the state is nothing more than a political ploy by a former president, and someone who's trying to curry favor," said Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo.
While Tarrant County has been reliably Republican in recent years, Biden won the county by a small margin in 2020. Whitley said he’s more than happy to comply with the audit.
“If we can do anything that will give people more confidence in the integrity of the election, that's great," said Whitley.
However, Democrats said that the audit will sow further doubt about election security.
“Texans are smarter than this. Playing politics with the integrity of elections threatens our democracy," said Hidalgo. "Every time you cry wolf, every time you yell fraud, every time you run a phony audit, you are tearing down our democracy brick by brick.”
The Texas Secretary of State’s office and Collin County have not responded to Capital Tonight’s request for comment.