Texas not hiring private contractor for election audit

Texas will not be hiring a private contractor to conduct its recently announced 2020 election audit of four counties in the state, the Texas secretary of state’s office said this week, adding that the full review could run through the spring of 2022. 

Sam Taylor, a spokesperson for the office, confirmed in a statement shared with The Hill on Wednesday that it “will not be hiring or contracting with an outside firm to conduct these audits.”

The detail comes after the recent audit of the 2020 election results in Arizona’s Maricopa County received significant scrutiny and backlash in part because of Cyber Ninjas, the firm hired to oversee the review despite not having any prior experience handling election audits. 

Findings from the Arizona audit unveiled last week revealed that Cyber Ninjas’ hand recount included human error, namely that the Florida-based firm recounted ballots cast in both the race for president and the Senate race between Democrat Mark Kelly and Republican Martha McSally. 

The Texas secretary of state released a two-page document late Tuesday that outlined specific details on the timeline of its “full forensic audit” on 2020 election results in Dallas, Harris, Tarrant and Collin counties. 

The first phase of the review includes partial manual recounts of ballots and security assessments, which all counties are required to undergo in compliance with state law. 

The secretary of state’s office said it has received reports from the Electronic Registration Information Center about voters who may have cast ballots twice or crossed state lines, people who may have been deceased when their ballot was cast and potential noncitizen voters. 

The office said the second phase will take place next spring, when the “office will conduct a comprehensive election records examination over the next several months to ensure election administration procedures were properly followed during the 2020 General Election.”

Documents to be reviewed from each county include logic and accuracy testing records for voting machines, early voting and Election Day materials and signature verification committee materials. 

The office said that “after a thorough examination of the above mentioned records and materials in each county, irregularities or deviations from election administration procedures that may have affected the accuracy of the electronic voting system ballot count could trigger a full manual recount of ballots in the affected precincts or polling locations.” 

“The purpose of this audit is to ensure all Texas voters can have confidence in the elections systems in our state, and to address any outstanding issues county election officials may face that undermines the integrity of our elections,” the office said in a statement. 

Texas announced the audit last week just hours after former President Trump demanded that Gov. Greg Abbott (R) back a bill to launch an election review in the state.

Tags 2020 election Arizona Donald Trump Election audit Elections Greg Abbott Mark Kelly Martha McSally Texas Voting machine
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