Texas officials have said that they are auditing the 2020 election results in four large urban counties. The announcement came just hours after former President Donald Trump, who has spread false conspiracy theories about the election being stolen from him, urged Governor Greg Abbott to look into the results in a state that Mr Trump won.
Mr Trump won the state of Texas by 5.5 per cent, the smallest margin of victory for a Republican since Kansas Senator Bob Dole beat President Bill Clinton in the state by 4.9 per cent in 1996. President Jimmy Carter is the last Democratic presidential candidate to have won Texas after beating President Gerald Ford in the state in 1976.
The office of the Texas secretary of state didn’t say in a Thursday night statement what had led to the decision to audit the four counties. Texas elections administrator Keith Ingram said earlier this year that the 2020 elections in the state were “safe and secure”.
The counties selected for audit include heavily Democratic areas in Houston and Dallas. The results in Tarrant County will also be reviewed after being the largest county continually won by Republicans but changing course and voting for President Joe Biden in 2020.
“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,” the statement from the office of the secretary of state said. The statement also said that the office expects that the legislature will grant funding for the auditing process, but it was not specified who would perform it.
The office of the secretary of state has been vacant since Ruth Hughs left the post in May of this year.
In a statement earlier on Thursday, Mr Trump called on Mr Abbott to give the audit a green light because “your citizens don’t trust the election system”.
Mr Trump has falsely claimed that voter fraud made him lose the election in Arizona, where an audit of the results in Maricopa County led by Trump loyalists found that Mr Biden win was larger than initially thought.
Another area to be reviewed is Collin County in the suburbs of Dallas, which voted for Mr Trump in 2020.
Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, a Democrat, tweeted: “Donald Trump ordered Gov Abbott to audit the 2020 Texas election and, like clockwork, TX just initiated an audit of Harris County voters. Democracy isn’t a game.”
“These fake audits are an affront to all voters, and pure pandering to the kinds of extremists that stormed our Capitol,” she added.
The Independent has reached out to the office of the Texas secretary of state for comment.