Texas’ audit of the 2020 election results thus far hasn’t unveiled anything out of the ordinary, despite former President Donald Trump pushing for an examination of what he dubbed a “scam” election in the state he won comfortably.
The Texas secretary of state’s office on New Year’s Eve released the first phase of its review of election data in four counties. Its findings were unremarkable, with few discrepancies between electronic and manual ballot counts.
The four counties audited were able to explain those differences, according to the review. One county cited voters who cast ballots from their cars using machines that didn’t leave a paper record. Another said its vote discrepancy of 10 was due to an election worker typing in data incorrectly. A third county blamed its five-vote difference on a manual counting error. The fourth county audited had zero discrepancies. The four counties account for 35 percent of the votes cast statewide.
The first phase of the review involved manual ballot counts and security assessments. The Texas Tribune notes that “all counties are already required to undergo as part of the typical election process.” The second phase of the audit, which will take place in 2022, will examine things like voting machine accuracy tests and chain-of-custody records for sealed ballot boxes.
Secretary of State John Scott has pledged to “restore confidence” in Texas’ elections, which is ironic given how he briefly represented Trump in his lawsuit to overturn the 2020 election results in Pennsylvania. Scott admitted in October that he has “not seen anything” that would point to a stolen election, but declined to agree with one of his predecessor’s deputies who said Texas’ handling of the election was “smooth and secure.” Scott claimed he didn’t want to get ahead of the audit, his “first and foremost” priority.
If the audit is indeed Scott’s top priority, it seems strange that he’d choose to bury its initial findings by releasing them on New Year’s Eve. He may have done so because they don’t contain even a whiff of evidence suggesting anything resembling a “scam” occurred during the 2020 election. “There doesn’t seem to be anything too far out of the ordinary with respect to the information that’s provided,” said Texas Association of Election Administrators President Remi Garza, according to the Tribune.
The audit was announced in September shortly after Trump wrote to Gov. Greg Abbott insisting that “Texans have big questions” about the election and “know voting fraud occurred in some of their counties.” Comments like these have spurred supporters of the former president to bombard election officials across the country with abusive messages and death threats. Last fall, a Hood County, Texas, elections administrator resigned after being criticized for months over her role in the 2020 election — even though Trump won the county with 81 percent of the vote.
“Governor Abbott, we need a ‘Forensic Audit of the 2020 Election’ added to the call,” Trump wrote in September. “We’re quickly running out of time and it must be done this week.”