Texas 2020 Election Audit Finds ‘Very Serious Issues’ in Harris County

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Secretary of State John Scott’s office has released the final phase of its 2020 general election audit of Collin, Dallas, Harris, and Tarrant Counties.

The audit released on Monday showed the most serious issues occurred in Harris County, followed by Dallas with two large problems, including “phantom voters.” Tarrant County administered a “quality, transparent election” with minor findings, and Collin County “proved to be the model of how to run elections in Texas.” (pdf)

Overall, Texas voters can have a “very high level of confidence in the accuracy of the outcome of Texas elections” when state election code and local procedures are followed, according to a state election audit report.

Scott ordered the full forensic audit last year amid concerns about voter fraud. To ensure the transparency of the assessment, the 359-page audit represents the two largest Democrat-controlled counties, Dallas and Harris, as well as the two largest Republican-controlled counties, Collin and Tarrant, according to the report.

In Harris County, the problems were severe enough that the Secretary of State’s office notified the county of the audit’s preliminary findings ahead of the 2022 midterm elections, the report said.

Last month, Chad Ennis, Director of the Forensic Audit Division (FAD), sent a letter to Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg requesting her assistance in reviewing allegations of criminal activity during the Nov. 8 election. (pdf)

The allegations stem from interviews with election judges from 16 polling places found the county may have committed at least two Texas Election Code violations.

‘Widespread Problems’

On Nov. 14, Gov. Gregg Abbott (R) also called for an investigation into the “widespread problems” that occurred during last month’s elections.

Among the problems reported were missing keys, a shortage of paper ballots in Republican precincts, and staffing issues, according to a news release.

“The allegations of election improprieties in our state’s largest county may result from anything ranging from malfeasance to blatant criminal conduct,” Abbott said.

“Voters in Harris County deserve to know what happened. Integrity in the election process is essential. To achieve that standard, a thorough investigation is warranted.”

By Jana J. Pruet

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