Full forensic audit will restore confidence in Texas election


In recent election cycles, voters have faced a crisis of confidence in the very system that underlies our representative form of government. From the specter of foreign interference in our elections to allegations of widespread mail-ballot fraud during the pandemic, voters have been struck by a host of reasons to doubt the system.

And, unsurprisingly, this is starting to weigh on their faith in the integrity of our elections.

According to a Pew Research Center poll released earlier this year, a large proportion of Americans from both parties believe there is cheating in elections, with 79 percent indicating that candidates or campaigns engage in illegal activity at least sometimes during elections.

That’s why, in order to restore voter confidence in the strength and resilience of our electoral systems, Texas is conducting the largest and most comprehensive forensic audit of the 2020 general election.

Over the next few months, the Texas Secretary of State’s office will conduct a top-down review of election records in the two largest counties with Democratic commissioner courts – Harris and Dallas – as well as the two largest counties. with Republican Commissioners Courts – Tarrant and Collin – accounting for 34 percent of all votes cast in last year’s historically high voter turnout. Commissioners The courts oversee the election administrators in each county, with whom our office will work closely to obtain the documents and information we need to perform the full forensic audit.

While county election officials have already performed partial manual recounts, election security assessments, and voter eligibility checks, the Texas forensic audit goes far beyond any other proposal or legislative election audit model in other states. Our audit examines, among others: chain of custody records of ballots and voting materials, audit logs of electronic voting systems and documents from early polls and signature verification committees for ensure that the postal ballots have not been tampered with and correspond to the lists of electors who requested them.

Importantly, this will be the country’s most comprehensive ‘forensic’ audit of the 2020 elections, using analytical tools to examine the inner workings of the election administration to determine whether illegal activity may have taken place. Using the authority given to our agency by the legislature, we will conduct additional full manual recounts of all constituencies affected by electoral irregularities.

We will follow the facts, follow the evidence, and ensure that any case of illegal voting or electoral crimes is investigated by law enforcement authorities, including the Texas Attorney General’s Office. .

Texans should be encouraged by the county’s dedicated election officials who work cycle after cycle to conduct elections with the integrity and professionalism voters deserve.

But voters also need peace of mind – they need the assurance that Texas election law and federal laws protecting the rights of legal and eligible voters are being followed every step of the way. When irregularities do occur, however insignificant they may appear, it takes a concerted effort to restore voter confidence in elections.

For example, after a recount in a Midland ISD bond election in 2019 reversed the results, a box of 836 uncounted ballots was discovered who ended up overturning the elections again. Our office worked meticulously to retrace the footsteps of local election officials. We were able to determine exactly how they got misplaced and implement targeted training to correct the shortcomings that led to the electoral irregularity.

Using these same methods and techniques, the Secretary of State’s office will strive to provide the same peace of mind to voters in Texas and to ensure that any irregularities that compromise the integrity of our elections are uncovered, corrected. and is not repeated in future elections.

We will work to investigate allegations of irregularities in Harris County, such as the allegation that the county initially reported 1,884 more votes than voters who registered at multiple drive-thru locations in the election. General 2020.

Most importantly, we are conducting this forensic election audit with no preconceptions of what we’re going to find. We will separate hearsay evidence, facts from rumors, and empirical data from unverifiable theories.

Ultimately, we want to make sure that every eligible voter in Texas – regardless of political affiliation – knows that voting in our state is fair and safe, and that only legal votes are cast and counted.

Any crack in the confidence of our elections is a crack in the foundation of our democracy. We must restore confidence in the integrity of our elections before the whole structure collapses under the weight of mistrust.

Scott is the 114th Secretary of State for Texas.


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