- Sanford Nowlin
- Texas is the latest state to authorize an audit of the 2020 election under pressure from former President Donald Trump despite no evidence of widespread fraud.
The announcement by Texas' secretary of state's office demonstrates Trump's continued influence over Republican leaders including Abbott. Under pressure from Trump, multiple state legislatures have approved audits of the election results despite a lack of credible evidence backing up Trump's repeated lies that widespread fraud cost him the White House.
Texas' "forensic audit" will take place in Collin, Dallas, Harris and Tarrant counties, according to a statement from the secretary of state's office. Even though Trump won the Lone Star State by a five-point margin, he lost three of those four counties. Only Collin County went his way.
Sarah Walker, executive director of voting-rights group Secure Democracy, lamented the spread of pricy election reviews in GOP-controlled states. Since Arizona Republicans authorized the audit of some 2 million ballots, they have spread to other states including Wisconsin, Michigan and now Texas.
"What started out in Arizona seems to spreading across the country, and there's no sign of it coming to an end," Walker said. "This is part of an overall trend to inject hyper-partisanship into elections and breed mistrust in our system."
Walker said Texans should also be concerned that Trump's letter raises the pressure for Abbott and Republicans in the Texas Legislature to pass Senate Bill 16, legislation that would allow candidates to demand elections audits without providing evidence of fraud and force counties to pick up the tab.
"The goal of Trump's letter was very clear," she said. "It's to ensure that the governor makes election review legislation part of this session."
Texas currently has no secretary of state, the official who oversees elections in the state. Abbott hasn't yet appointed a successor to Ruth Hughs, who retired from the position earlier this summer.
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