election audit

Preliminary Findings of 2020 Election Audit Finds Little Trouble in Big Texas Counties

Out of millions of votes cast in Dallas, Tarrant, Collin, and Harris counties, only 17 deceased votes and 60 duplicate votes were found, the latter of which is still under investigation

tarrant county elections sign
Frank Heinz, NBC 5 News

The Texas Secretary of State released preliminary findings Friday from an audit of election results ordered earlier this year by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott and found few issues.

The Office of Texas Secretary of State announced in September it launched a “forensic audit” of the 2020 election in Dallas, Harris, Tarrant, and Collin counties. Dallas and Harris are two of the state's largest Democratic counties while Tarrant and Collin are typically two of the largest Republican counties, though in the 2020 election Joe Biden narrowly won Tarrant County over incumbent Donald Trump.

The September announcement of the audit came a day after Trump suggested Abbott, a close Republican ally, order the audit. The Texas Secretary of State’s Office did not specify then what prompted the announcement.

The office of John Scott, who was appointed Texas Secretary of State in October 2021, said Friday 3,885,875 votes were cast in the November 2020 election in Dallas, Tarrant, Collin, and Harris counties and that those nearly 4 million votes represent approximately 35% of the roughly 11.3 million votes cast statewide.

The preliminary report found that out of those nearly 4 million votes in those four counties, there were 17 deceased voters and 60 cross-state duplicate votes. The report also confirmed that the counties were removing deceased voters from voter rolls as expected.

  • Statewide, a total of 509 potential cross-state duplicate votes were cast in the November 2020 General Election - meaning these individuals may have cast a ballot in both Texas and another state. Of those 509, nine cast ballots in Collin County, 12 cast ballots in Dallas County, 27 cast ballots in Harris County, and 12 cast ballots in Tarrant County. Statewide, cross-state duplicate votes represented .005% of all votes cast in Texas.
  • Since November 2020, 224,585 deceased voters have been removed from the voter rolls in Texas - indicating the counties are performing their fundamental duties under federal and state law to maintain the accuracy of the statewide voter registration list and mitigate fraudulent activity related to potentially deceased voters. Collin County removed 4,889 deceased voters, Dallas County removed 14,926 deceased voters, Harris County removed 23,914 deceased voters, and Tarrant County removed 13,955 deceased voters.
  • Statewide, a total of 67 potential votes cast in the name of deceased people are under investigation. Of those 67, three were cast in Collin County, nine were cast in Dallas County, four were cast in Harris County and one was cast in Tarrant County. Statewide, deceased votes that are still under investigation represented .0006% of all votes cast in Texas.

Regarding non-citizens being registered to vote, the secretary's office said there are a number of investigations to complete and that the final findings will be verified during Phase 2 of the audit.

  • Statewide, a total of 11,737 potential non-U.S. citizens were identified as being registered to vote. Of these, 327 records were identified in Collin County, 1,385 were identified in Dallas County, 3,063 were identified in Harris County and 708 were identified in Tarrant County. While counties still have a significant number of pending investigations to complete and have undertaken this list maintenance process to varying degrees, so far Dallas County has canceled 1,193 potential non-U.S. citizen records, Tarrant County has canceled one record, and Collin and Harris have not canceled any potential non-U.S. citizen records. The final findings will be verified during Phase 2 of the full forensic audit.

In a review of each county's partial manual count report required under Texas law, three of the four counties reported discrepancies between ballots counted electronically versus those counted by hand. The reported reasons for these discrepancies are included in the report and will be re-examined, investigated, and verified during Phase 2 of the full forensic audit, Scott's office said in a statement.

The Secretary of State's Office said each of the four counties has dedicated at least $136,000 to enhance their respective election security postures over the past two years - including both cybersecurity and physical security of election equipment. This includes funds provided through Help America Vote Act (HAVA) Election Security allocation to the State of Texas, as well as local matching county funds.

Texas is one of several Republican-led states that have pushed through new voting restrictions in the name of election security since the party lost the White House. The effort, which led to new restrictions in Georgia, Florida, Arizona and elsewhere, was spurred in part by former President Donald Trump’s false claims that the election was stolen from him.

While opponents of Texas' new voting laws said they were veiled voter suppression and made it harder for people to get assistance at the polls or to vote by mail, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) refuted those claims and said the laws made it easier to vote and harder to cheat.

The DOJ disagreed with the governor and filed a lawsuit against the state in November saying the laws violated both the Voting Rights Act and Civil Rights Act. The DOJ lawsuit The DOJ has since filed another lawsuit against the state over redrawn district maps they said were drawn with "discriminatory intent."

See the Phase 1 Progress Report

To the extent any information was not made available to the Texas Secretary of State's office before the publication of this report, the SOS office will endeavor to include any outstanding data figures in the final forensic audit report released after the completion of Phase 2.

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