Questions linger after state announces audit of 2020 election results in four Texas counties

AUSTIN, Texas (KTRK) -- Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo and county leaders are reacting to the state's plans to audit four Texas counties' November election results.

On Thursday, the Texas Secretary of State's Office announced it will audit the 2020 election results in the state's four largest counties: Collin, Dallas, Harris and Tarrant.

This announcement happening just hours after former president Donald Trump requested Governor Greg Abbott to add an Election Audit Bill to the state legislature's third special session agenda.

SEE ALSO: Despite victory in Texas and no evidence of widespread fraud, Trump calls for election audit
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There has been no evidence of widespread voter fraud, and the Texas secretary of state who oversaw the 2020 election declared it "smooth and secure."



"I know in 2020 the Harris County Commissioner's Court approved two security audits," Hidalgo said on Friday. "They were conducted. They came back clean. Our election systems work. All of us, we vote. We watch news of people voting. We know that it is safe and secure. We know all of this is a sham."

Harris County Elections administrator Isabel Longoria said their office did not receive further instructions or details about the announced audit.

"Having had no heads up," Longoria said, "Having been given no questions, having heard no concerns from the Secretary of State. I'm now being blindsided about an audit that we have no information on and no direction on. And so my job is to protect the voters of Harris County."

SEE ALSO: Draft of Republican-led election audit confirms Trump's defeat in Arizona's Maricopa County
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A draft copy of the Republican-led election audit confirms Trump's defeat in Arizona.



ABC13 reached out to the governor's office for a response, but we have not heard back.

Political Science Professor at Rice University Mike Jones said he believes this is a politically motivated move in response to Trump's recent demand.

"I would not take this election audit too seriously," Jones said. "This is just Gov. Abbott trying to get himself out of a political pickle that Donald Trump created for him with that letter. I don't think that the Governor really intends too much of anything, just go through the motions, such so that he can at least say on face surface he looked into the matter and didn't find anything. Because those of us who are on the ground know that there isn't anything to find."

Harris County GOP Chairman Cindy Siegel sent the following statement to ABC13 Friday afternoon:

"All Harris County voters, regardless of their political party, should support the Secretary of State stepping in to conduct a comprehensive audit of the 2020 election to protect their right to free, fair, and secure elections. Unfortunately, Harris County officials have been deceiving voters regarding the election process and refused to investigate reports of potential fraud and irregularities filed by election clerks and poll watchers. As a CPA, I believe in transparency, but Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo shows time and time again that transparency and accountability are not her priority. While our state lawmakers are putting resources towards a comprehensive and transparent audit of our election process, Judge Hidalgo is focused on funneling $11 million in taxpayer dollars to a partisan operative under the guise of COVID outreach. If there really are no cases of election fraud in the third largest county in the nation like Judge Hidalgo claims, then why wouldn't she support the Secretary of State doing it's job and performing the audit? Judge Hidalgo, what are you hiding?"

The Harris County District Attorney's Office sent the below statement in response Friday evening:

"The right of every citizen to participate in the democratic process is the cornerstone of any democracy. As in every Harris County election, elections officials, the county attorney, the district attorney, and law enforcement were on hand to ensure a full and fair election. The Voting Integrity & Security Collaborative (VISC) Task Force fielded complaints and provided support where appropriate. The District Attorney's office fully reviewed all complaints and filed criminal charges where appropriate."

Christian D. Menefee, the County Attorney for Harris County, sent the following statement in a press release Friday morning:

"Governor Abbott taking orders from Donald Trump and auditing elections in Harris County from 10 months ago is just another example of why Texans are losing confidence in our state's leadership. Governor Abbott's and Trump's motives here are clear; to sow distrust in our elections, to intimidate election officials and workers, and to appease conspiracy theorists. Texans are better than this. Our Governor should be too."

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