These counties will undergo audits of their elections immediately after the general election.
This procedure is required under Senate Bill (SB) 1, the new Texas election law overhaul passed last year. The provision in the law that enacts randomized county audits requires the secretary of state to pick two counties with fewer than 300,000 people and two counties with more than 300,000 people, but the selection process is otherwise random.
Two of the chosen counties lean Republican and two lean Democratic.
According to voting data from the past two general elections, Cameron County is 61 percent Democratic and Harris County is 55 percent Democratic. Guadalupe is 64 percent Republican, and Eastland County has the strongest partisan leaning of any of the four counties with an 88 percent Republican voting population.
Harris County Attorney Christian Menefee accused the Secretary of State’s office of rigging the selection.
“I’m sure the state’s selection of Harris County was ‘randomized’ as the Election Code requires,” Menefee wrote.
“Just like it was a random coincidence when last year the state announced an audit of our 2020 election hours after Trump sent [Governor Greg Abbott] a public [letter] calling for an audit.”
Much of SB 1 was meant to directly address new practices Harris County implemented in the 2020 elections, such as drive-through voting.
SB 1 made numerous changes to the Texas Election Code with the aim of preventing voter fraud. The random audit provision was added to the bill with an amendment by state Rep. Bryan Slaton (R-Royse City)
While the final version of the bill passed the House 80 to 41, this amendment made it into the bill on a much slimmer 63 to 53 vote, with many Republicans opposing it: Reps. Steve Allison (R-San Antonio), Ernest Bailes (R-Shepherd), Dustin Burrows (R-Lubbock), Travis Clardy (R-Nacogdoches), John Frullo (R-Lubbock), Gary Gates (R-Katy), Dan Huberty (R-Humble), Kyle Kacal (R-Bryan), Ken King (R-Canadian), John Kuempel (R-Seguin), Stan Lambert (R-Abilene), Lyle Larson (R-San Antonio), Jim Murphy (R-Houston), Chris Paddie (R-Tyler), and Phil Stephenson (R-Wharton).
Slaton issued a press release supporting the new requirement and thanking the House members that voted for his amendment.
“Today, the Secretary of State released the four counties, two small and two large, that will be audited after the November Elections. These randomized audits, which will continue to occur on a regular basis after every general election, will be an important tool to ensure that our Texas Elections are completely free and fair,” Slaton stated.
“I am grateful to all of my colleagues in the Texas House who joined with me to make sure that my amendment to SB 1, which made these audits possible, was successfully adopted and incorporated into Texas Law. I look forward to working with the Secretary of State and my colleagues in the Legislature to continue to make sure that all Texans can freely vote and trust the outcomes.”
Disclosure: Unlike almost every other media outlet, The Texan is not beholden to any special interests, does not apply for any type of state or federal funding, and relies exclusively on its readers for financial support. If you’d like to become one of the people we’re financially accountable to, click here to subscribe.