GOP Texas House Members Call for Forensic Audit of November 2020 Election in Largest Counties in State
AUSTIN – Members of the Republican House are calling for a forensic audit of the November election results, but only in the largest counties in Texas that primarily chose Democrat Joe Biden.
Legislation filed by Representative Steve Toth, R-The Woodlands, requires the state’s Republican leadership to appoint an “independent third party” to perform the audit. Among the 15 GOP co-sponsors of the bill are Deer Park Rep. Briscoe Cain, who chairs the House Elections Committee, and Cypress Rep. Tom Oliverson, Republican House Caucus Deputy Chairman.
“Texans want to know more about the allegations of voter fraud and deserve to be confident in their election,” Toth said in a Bill 241 statement. “Voters want to know that their legal vote counts and counts. “
Legislation is unlikely to go anywhere during the 30-day special session, as the Democrats’ walkout has kept the GOP-led house from doing business. But the push shows how some Republicans are still raising questions about the 2020 election results six months after Biden took office and in a Trump-led state, despite no evidence of widespread fraud.
Trump himself has never questioned the elections in Texas and in states where the Republican claimed the elections were fraudulently stolen, more than 80 judges, some of whom he appointed, rejected all of these. allegations as being totally unfounded. In the ballot, Republicans largely repelled a nationwide push by Democrats in 2020 to topple seats in Texas Congress and Parliament.
Representative Chris Turner, who chairs the Texas House Democratic Caucus, said on Tuesday the legislation sounded “all based on the lie that there is widespread voter fraud and that Donald Trump has actually won the election.”
“I don’t know if these people are aware, Trump actually transported Texas,” said Turner, D-Grand Prairie. “So I’m not sure what they’re trying to find in their audit. “
The legislation calls for a review of results in each constituency of the state’s 13 most populous counties – with a population of at least 415,000 people – from November. Next March, the auditor chosen by Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Speaker of the House Dade Phelan are expected to submit a report “detailing any anomalies or discrepancies in voter data, ballot data or tabulation ”.
The bill’s parameters are set to include a “broad mix of great red, blue and purple counties,” Toth said.
Ten of the counties targeted for the audit, including Dallas and Tarrant, backed Biden in the election. Three of them – Collin, Denton and Montgomery counties – chose Trump.
In Arizona, a GOP-led review of the 2020 vote count in Maricopa County, where Phoenix is located, is underway. Biden won this state.
In Texas, state officials called the 2020 election “simple and secure.” As of mid-June, the attorney general’s office had proceedings pending against 43 people for electoral fraud, according to agency records. Two cases stem from the 2020 Texas presidential election, which drew more than 11.3 million voters.
Abbott has named “electoral integrity” a priority this year and after House Democrats killed the GOP’s election bill in the regular legislative session, he called a special session to reconsider the measure. House Democrats reversed that effort, however, when they fled to Washington DC last week to protest the bill which they say amounts to voter suppression. With most of them gone, the House does not have enough MPs in Austin to hear or pass bills.
Abbott has pledged to call another special session in early August at the end of this one. It is not clear whether the second-term Republican supports the forensic audit; his office did not immediately return a request for comment.
Washington bureau chief Todd J. Gillman contributed to this report.