Progress report released from first phase of Texas 2020 election forensic audit
SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) — The Texas Secretary of State released the results from the first phase of the forensic audit of the 2020 election last week.
Governor Greg Abbott announced the audit in September and said it would be focused in four of the state’s largest counties: Collin, Dallas, Harris and Tarrant.
According to the report released Dec. 31, all four counties had earmarked at least $136,000 to enhance election securities over two years that include both cyber-security and physical security of election equipment. The funds reportedly include the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) in addition to local matching county funds.
Manual vs electronic counts
With regards to discrepancies between manual and electronically counted votes, the SOS office wrote that in Collins County among the randomly selected precincts there were 17 possible discrepancies identified.
The report notes that Collin County officials said the discrepancy is due to the use of direct-recording electronic (DRE) voting machines in curbside voting for those physically unable to enter the polling place and the DRE machines do not produce a paper record and therefore were unable to be tallied into the audit. The SOS stated this will be further investigated during the next phase of the forensic audit.
In Dallas County, there was a 10 vote discrepancy. The report says the difference appears to be the result of a data entry error in one precinct by county officials during the partial manual count report submitted to the SOS office.
Harris County utilized DRE machines for the election and the report states the county was not able to provide manually counted ballots as they do not exist. The county was able to provide both manual and electronic figures for mail-in ballots, according to the report. A five count discrepancy was reported and is attributed to a counting error.
The SOS office found there to be no discrepancies in Tarrant County.
The accuracy of the voter registration lists were included in the audit and the report states that 224,585 deceased people were removed from voter registration lists statewide. “for the time period of November 2020 to the present.”
4,889 were reportedly removed in Collin County, 13,955 in Tarrant County, 14,926 in Dallas County and 23,914 in Harris County.
According to the report, there were 236 possible votes cast by deceased individuals statewide and the SOS office found that at least 169 of those records were erroneously matched because of missing or incomplete data and data entry errors.
The SOS office said they were actively investigating 67 records of deceased registered voters casting a ballot and, of that figure, one is under review in Tarrant County, three in Collin County, four in Harris County and nine in Dallas. The results from this investigation are expected to be completed later this month.
The office also worked to identify registered voters that are ineligible to vote due to non-Citizen status.
Statewide, the report states, the office was investigating 11,737 possible non-Citizen voter records. Of that figure, 278 voters have been removed from voter rolls and an additional 2,049 were canceled for failure to respond to a notice from the county voter registrar requesting documentation of proof of citizenship. The report notes that “some records may have been examined and resolved as part of the deceased, felony, and/or duplicate process.”
For the four counties the audit focused on, there were no non-Citizen voters removed from the registration list in Collin and Harris counties, one in Tarrant and five in Dallas County. No voters were removed from lists for failure to respond to a request for proof of citizenship in Collin, Harris and Tarrant counties. Tarrant County is reportedly in the process of processing and reviewing records currently.
Dallas County reported county officials have completed all of the reviews and processing and removed 1,188 voters for failure to respond.
The SOS office said Harris and Dallas County did not provide an update and will investigate in the next phase of the audit.
The report notes that potential non-U.S. citizen records do not indicate an illegal vote has been cast, and are not resolved until the county investigation is complete and the voter has been removed from the statewide voter list due to non-U.S. citizenship.
Statewide, the office reported they removed 437,559 duplicate voter registration records.
Collin County removed 19,764 duplicate records, Tarrant County removed 30,775 duplicate records, Dallas County removed 39,798 duplicate records and Harris County removed 54,372 duplicate records. Each county is reportedly still working to review possible duplicates.
The report included cross-state duplicate voters in thew report and said the SOS office is reviewing 509 voter records where voters “may have cast a vote in the 2020 November General Election in more than one state or jurisdiction.”
In the audited counties, the report states that nine possible cross-state voters are under review with 12 in both Dallas and Tarrant, and 27 under review in Harris County.