Questions, confusion remain over ordered audit of 2020 election results in four Texas counties

Texas Politics

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The launch of a forensic audit of the 2020 election results in four Texas counties has sparked questions and created confusion for some leaders across the state.

The key head-scratchers: Who exactly ordered the audits and how much could they cost?

In a 58-word statement released Thursday, the Texas Secretary of State’s office said the audit would look at returns in Texas’ two largest Republican-voting counties — Tarrant and Collin — and the two largest Democratic-voting counties — Dallas and Harris.

At a news conference Friday, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo said she remains proud of the expanded voting efforts across Harris County in 2020 and believes the outcomes to be accurate.

“I will not be treating this as a serious audit, because it’s not,” Hidalgo said.

She added she believes the audit is the result of former President Donald Trump’s letter to Governor Greg Abbott on Thursday in which Trump asked the Abbott to use the current third special session to reexamine the election.

“It is clear that the sensational announcement of an audit by the state is nothing more than a political ploy by a former president and someone who is trying to curry favor,” Hidalgo said.

Harris County election officials said they were caught off guard by the audit and have questions over whether the secretary of state’s office has the power to carry it out.

In its announcement, the office said it does.

Texas currently has no sitting secretary of state after the resignation of Ruth Hughs who oversaw the 2020 election. Hughs stepped down last spring and Governor Abbott has yet to choose a successor.

KXAN called and emailed both the governor’s office and the secretary of state’s office for comment on Friday. Neither responded.

Alex Kuehler, the southwest communications director for the Republican National Committee said Texans “need to be assured that their elections are free and fair.”

“So if [the audit] gets that done, we’ll see what happens,” Kuehler said.

It will be up to the Texas Legislature to provide funding for the audit. The price tag remains unknown.

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