DALLAS – Under pressure from former President Donald Trump, Texas will audit the 2020 election results in four of the state’s largest counties.
The state is agreeing to give its results another look nearly one year after the 2020 elections.
Former President Trump won Texas by more than five percentage points.
Still, he asked Gov. Greg Abbott to add legislation for an election audit to the third special session agenda.
Within hours of that request, the secretary of state’s office announced a forensic audit in four counties – Dallas, Tarrant, Collin and Harris.
President Joe Biden won each of them except for Collin County last year.
Trump continues to claim without evidence that there was widespread fraud in the 2020 election.
Earlier this year, the chief of elections at the Texas Secretary of State’s office said the election was smooth and secure.
Courts have repeatedly dismissed allegations of fraud made by Trump and his allies.
There was no comment from the governor Friday after the announcement.
The timing raised questions and Democrats wonder whether the Texas Secretary of State’s Office even has the authority to do it.
There’s been relative silence from top state officials since the audit was announced, but many questions, including from the counties being audited.
The Secretary of State’s Office said in a press release late Thursday that it “…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. We anticipate the Legislature will provide funds for this purpose.”
And according to officials in Tarrant County, the audit there has not yet begun.
They found out about it when everyone else did…
“Our elections folks reached out to the Secretary of State’s Office today and said, you know, we stand ready to help in any way. We can just tell us if you’ve made any requests, if you’ve got any requests, if you want us to do something, let us know. And they said they appreciate it and we’ll get back with you,” Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley said.
Whitley said he’s confident any audit will come up with similar, if not identical results.
“If by doing this, if by counting or recounting a couple of the of the counties, we can dispel this, you know, this myth or this rumor, then I think that’s I think that’s great,” he said.
Democratic Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo condemned the audit Friday afternoon.
“Playing politics with the integrity of the elections threatens our democracy,” Hidalgo said. “Every time you cry wolf, every time you yell fraud, every time you run a phony audit, you are tearing down a democracy brick by brick.”
FOX 4 reached out to the governor’s office for comment, but they did not make the governor available.
He also didn’t address the matter during an appearance Friday afternoon.
After trump’s letter demanding action on a 2020 audit, Texas Democrats said it appears Trump is in charge.
“It seems that, in fact, we don’t have an independent thinking governor of Texas right now. We have someone who is just going to do what Donald Trump and his supporters tell him to do,” said State Rep. Chris Turner, House Democratic Caucus Chair.
Democrats are also raising concerns about whether the Texas Secretary of State’s Office has the authority to do the audit.
“There have been actually several Republican bills filed in the legislature over the summer, and in this current special session to require this. So it begs the question, if they already have the authority, why do some Republicans think legislation is necessary?” Turner added.
SMU political science professor Cal Jillson said there’s very little political risk for Gov. Abbott in the state moving forward with an audit.
“So if it doesn’t, he says, I was in charge the whole time and we ran a good election here in Texas, but I do think there is still loss for the citizens and voters of Texas because we deserve to have confidence on our elections,” he said.
There could however be consequences for Abbott if the state did not move forward with an audit.
“He’s protected himself against the risk of not being on the same page with Trump,” Jillson added.
There are still plenty of questions as to how this audit will happen, how much it might cost, and when it will begin in earnest.
A spokesperson for the Secretary of State’s Office did not get back to FOX 4 after asking for additional details.
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Arizona election audit confirms Biden’s win
A similar Republican-backed audit of election results in Arizona’s largest county reaffirmed that Trump did in fact lose there last November.
A draft report of the results show President Biden actually gained votes in Maricopa County, which is the Phoenix area.
Arizona Republicans claimed without evidence that an audit would show widespread fraud aided Biden’s win in the state.
They hired a firm named Cyber Ninjas to do the audit even though it had no prior experience in elections.
Biden won Arizona by just over 10,000 votes.