Politics

Texas Secretary of State reveals first results from election audit

The initial phase of the Texas secretary of state’s 2020 election audit in four of the state’s largest counties turned up a relatively small number of ballots for investigation, according to a new report released Friday.

Out of the 11.3 million votes cast statewide, Secretary of State John Scott found a potential 509 instances where individuals may have cast ballots in Texas and another state and 67 possible cases of votes cast in the name of deceased people.

On Friday, Samuel Taylor, a spokesperson with the secretary of state’s office, said the review was needed “to provide clarity on what issues need to be resolved for the next elections.”

On the contrary Remi Garza, president of the Texas Association of Election Administrators, said there wasn’t anything in the review’s first set of results that raised any alarms for him.

“There doesn’t seem to be anything too far out of the ordinary with respect to the information that’s provided,” said Garza, who serves as the election administrator in Cameron County. “… I hope nobody draws any strong conclusions one way or the other with respect to the information that’s been provided. I think it’s just very straightforward, very factual and will ultimately play a part in the final conclusions that are drawn once the second phase is completed.”

According to the state’s review of the counties’ partial manual counts, which they are already required to conduct under state law, there were few differences between electronic and manual ballot tallies, and counties were able to provide an explanation for these inconsistencies.

In Collin County, a partial manual count of ballots in three precincts found a vote discrepancy of 17. County officials said the difference was attributable to curbside voters who are allowed to vote from their cars using machines that do not produce a paper record, according to the state’s report.

Dallas County had a vote discrepancy of 10 across seven precincts, but the state’s report says that appeared to have resulted from a data entry error when county officials first reported the results of the partial manual count to the state.

Tarrant County had zero discrepancies in the sample of seven precincts it was required to review.

Although the secretary of state’s office has dubbed its review a “full forensic audit” of the election, the first phase of the review includes partial manual counts of ballots and security assessments, which all counties are already required to undergo as part of the typical election process. State law requires partial manual counts to be conducted within 72 hours of polls closing after every election.

The second phase, which will take place in 2022, will be an examination of election records “to ensure election administration procedures were properly followed,” according to documentation previously released by the state. That includes reviews of records of voting machine accuracy tests, rosters for early voting, and forms detailing chain of custody for sealed ballot boxes and other election materials maintained by the counties.

In its New Year’s Eve report, the state said it would also use these examinations to review the causes for the vote discrepancies captured in the partial manual counts.

The official overseeing the review, who assisted Trump in challenging Pennsylvania’s results, said in an October interview with The Texas Tribune that President Joe Biden won the 2020 election and that he has “not seen anything” to suggest that the election was stolen from Trump.

ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH 

MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

PHOTO CREDITS: STATESMAN.COM

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Paul, 37, is from Scotland in the UK, but currently lives and works in Bangkok. Paul has worked in different industries such as telemarketing, retail, hospitality, farming, insurance, and teaching, where he works now. He teaches at an all-girls High School in Bangkok. “It’s a lot of work, but I love my job.” Paul has an active interest in politics. His reason for writing for FBA is to offer people the facts and allow them to make up their own minds. Whilst he believes opinion columns have their place, it is also important that people can have accurate news with no bias.

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