The Texas Secretary of State’s office announced on Thursday it has launched a “forensic audit” of the 2020 election in the two largest Democrat and two largest Republican counties – Dallas, Harris, Tarrant and Collin counties.
The announcement, which was emailed to reporters Thursday evening, came a day after former President Donald Trump suggested that Gov. Greg Abbott, a close Republican ally, order the audit. The Texas Secretary of State’s Office did not specify what prompted the announcement.
"You know your fellow Texans have big questions about the November 2020 Election," Trump wrote in a letter to Abbott. "Despite my big win in Texas, I hear Texans want an election audit!"
Trump won Texas last year by 5.5 percentage points, the closest margin of victory by a GOP presidential nominee in decades.
The position of Secretary of State has been vacant since May.
Earlier this year, Keith Ingram, the office’s elections administrator, said the 2020 elections in Texas were “safe and secure.”
“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,” the release said. “We anticipate the Legislature will provide funds for this purpose.
The audited counties will include the major Democratic strongholds around Houston and Dallas, as well as Tarrant County, which for years has been the largest GOP-controlled county in Texas but went for President Joe Biden last year.
It went on to say the office expects the Legislature to provide funding for the audit. It was not clear who would conduct the review, and a spokesman for the office did not return a message late Thursday.
The Secretary of State is appointed by the governor in Texas but has remained vacant since Ruth Ruggero Hughs stepped down in May. An Abbott spokeswoman did not respond to questions about the announcement late Thursday.
Trump has falsely claimed that voter fraud and irregularities cost him electoral votes in Arizona, where on Friday his supporters hired to review the 2020 vote count are expected to deliver their findings.
The other North Texas county in the Texas review is booming Collin County which went for Trump last year.
Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, a Democrat and the county’s top elected official, swiftly criticized the move.
“Donald Trump ordered Gov. Abbott to audit the 2020 Texas election and, like clockwork, Texas just initiated an audit of Harris County voters. Democracy isn’t a game,” she tweeted.