Texas Republicans allocated $4 million in emergency funding to the secretary of state for election audits, diverting the money from the prison system. Under Texas’ new law, the secretary of state has to make a new election audit division with the mandate of auditing random counties every two years.
Governor Greg Abbott vows to maintain the integrity of the vote
Former President Trump repeatedly asked Texas Governor Greg Abbott for an election audit; the new law is widely believed to be shaped by his directions. Texas has four ongoing audits in the counties of Dallas, Harris, Collin, and Tarrant, which will be funded using this money.
These audits were initiated by the state after the continuous pushing of Trump to confirm the authenticity of votes in the state. The Texas governor said the funding would pave the way for the largest forensic audit in the United States.
Likewise, Abbott noted the election audit is a major part of upholding democracy in the country, and the new law will serve this purpose.
Today I approved funding to launch an Election Audit Division within the Texas Secretary of State’s office.
This audit will be the most comprehensive forensic audit in the country.
Ensuring the integrity of our elections is critical to our democracy. pic.twitter.com/dY445a9V0W
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) November 19, 2021
Sam Taylor, the spokesman of the Texas Secretary of State, said the allocated funds would be helpful in conducting current and upcoming audits in the state, as recommended by the legislature.
The spokesman said apart from the ongoing audits, the future audits required by Senate Bill 1 will be carried out using the allocated money. Taylor noted this money will be used in hiring additional staff and removing ineligible voters from the voters’ list.
When Texas proclaimed to conduct audits on September 23, Democrats cried foul, labeling it an attempt by the governor to win another term in 2022.
Democrats cry foul over Texas’ new election bill
Stephanie Gómez, the associate director of Common Cause Texas, said the allocated money could have been used for other purposes. She noted the state could use money in the winter to solve electricity problems or better healthcare facilities.
Democrats have often propagated that Senate Bill 1 will have drastic consequences in the state’s electoral process. They allege it will disenfranchise minorities from the voting process and increase the voting time for citizens in the queue.
While the bill will expand early voting in some counties, it will also ban overnight voting in some other counties in a bid to make the electoral process transparent.
The new law will be effective from December 2, 2021, and bind the secretary of state to audit four random counties after each midterm and presidential election.
New: GOP leaders approved shifting $4 million from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice to the Texas secretary of state’s office to create an “Election Audit Division.”
The division will lead county election audits mandated by a new law. https://t.co/8gtOm3o3ZV
— Texas Tribune (@TexasTribune) November 19, 2021
Not only this, but at least two of the counties should have more than 300,000 residents, which means large counties will be audited more frequently than smaller ones.
Abbott has been the right-hand man of Donald Trump’s post-2020 elections in his demands to conduct election audits across the United States. Due to his efforts, the state of Texas filed a lawsuit in the Supreme Court; although it was not entertained by the judiciary.