“Donald Trump has ordered Governor Abbott to scrutinize the 2020 Texas elections, and like clockwork, TX has just begun scrutiny of Harris County voters,” Harris County executive director Lina Hidalgo, Democrat, wrote in a tweet. “These fake audits are an affront to all voters and a pure ingratiation to the kind of extremists who stormed our Capitol.”
Texas does not currently have a permanent secretary of state. The position, which will be appointed by the governor and confirmed by the state Senate, is currently vacant, with Joe Esparza, a former Abbott adviser, serving on an interim basis. The Foreign Minister did not immediately respond to a number of questions from POLITICO, including details of the procedure and the person who will conduct the review.
The announcement comes hours after Trump publicly posted a letter to Abbott, which he backed in his 2022 re-election bid. In the letter, Trump advocated a law that would allow candidates and party officials to initiate an examination in the state.
“Governor Abbott, we need to put a ‘forensic review of the 2020 elections’ on the agenda of the ongoing special session,” Trump said in his letter released on Thursday by his PAC leadership End of fraud in the 2020 presidential election! “
Since his loss last November, Trump and his allies have been fixated on false claims of widespread electoral fraud. Former president supporters have sought election reviews in states across the country that he has lost, with efforts at various stages in Arizona, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
A long-delayed final report from Arizona is expected to be delivered tomorrow. The review of the results in the largest district in the state, Maricopa, was conducted under the supervision of the Republican-controlled State Senate. The efforts funded by Trump’s allies were besieged from the start by conspiracy theories and seemingly improvised practices.
The Arizona Democratic Secretary of State and the Republican polling officer have publicly opposed the effort, and they and outside experts have rejected the “review” label that supporters are putting on for its shortcomings.
However, this hasn’t deterred Trump supporters who have tried to export the process across the country.
The Texas review also follows a brutal battle over the state’s electoral laws. Republicans passed a new electoral law in the state adding new restrictions on voting after the Democrats launched a protracted strike in the US House of Representatives that delayed passage but ultimately did not ruin efforts. The new law added further restrictions on postal voting in the state and targeted practices from the Harris County pandemic-era, including 24-hour and early drive-in elections.
This new law, SB 1, requires the Foreign Minister to conduct “randomized checks” immediately after the interim and presidential elections, but it sets few parameters for implementation and leaves this to the judgment of the Foreign Minister’s office.