“Under existing Texas laws, the Secretary of State has the authority to conduct a full and comprehensive forensic audit of any election and 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,” stated the office in a press release.
“We anticipate the Legislature will provide funds for this purpose,” they added.
As Abbott has not appointed a new secretary of state since the departure of Secretary of State Ruth Hughs earlier this year, the current Deputy Secretary of State is Jose Esparza.
The announcement of an audit comes quickly on the heels of former President Donald Trump sending an open letter to Gov. Greg Abbott urging him to add an audit of the 2022 election to the items that the legislature can consider during the ongoing legislative session.
Trump had specifically asked the governor to add legislation like Rep. Steve Toth’s (R-The Woodlands) House Bill 16 and Senate Bill 97 by Sen. Paul Bettencourt (R-Houston), which would have required a broader review of the 2020 election in Texas.
The announcement of the audit by the Secretary of State’s Office was met with criticism from the left and right alike.
“Let me be the first to congratulate the disgraced former president, Donald Trump, on his apparently becoming the new governor of Texas,” said Rep. Chris Turner (D-Grand Prairie), the chairman of the House Democratic Caucus. “Pitiful yet predictable that [Abbott] has capitulated to Trump yet again.”
But former state Rep. Jonathan Stickland (R-Bedford) was critical that Abbott did not call on the legislature to approve something broader like Trump requested.
“The Bush wing of the party via [Abbott] continues to challenge and belittle grassroot requests,” said Stickland. “Will be curious to see if Trump accepts these crumbs from their table.”
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Daniel Friend is a reporter for The Texan. He participated in a Great Books program at Azusa Pacific University and graduated in 2019 with a degree in Political Science. He has studied C.S. Lewis’s science fiction trilogy and in his spare time you might find him writing his own novel partly inspired by the series.