The Secretary of State’s office released a progress report (PDF) of its “full forensic audit” of the 2020 general election results in Collin, Dallas, Harris and Tarrant Cos. Much of this report summarizes work routinely done by counties under existing law to ensure accuracy of election results and voter registration rolls.

Current law requires counties to conduct manual recounts to ensure accuracy of voting equipment. “None of the four counties reported any discrepancies” in Election Day votes. Collin Co. reported a discrepancy of 17 early ballots, which the county attributed to the curbside voting process not producing paper records to count manually. In Dallas Co., a discrepancy of 10 early ballots was attributed to data entry error. A discrepancy of 5 ballots in Harris Co. was attributed to a counting error. Tarrant Co.’s partial manual recount found no discrepancies.

Under existing statute, all counties are required to conduct an Electronic Security Assessment of their voting and counting equipment. All four counties had completed those assessments and requested federal funds for equipment upgrades prior to the 2020 general election.

Under existing statute, counties are required to regularly maintain and update their voter registration lists to ensure their accuracy. The report includes data from the four counties’ efforts to maintain accurate voter registration lists. In bold type, the report cautions that “removal of ineligible and/or deceased voters from the statewide voter registration list in and of itself does not indicate any illegal votes were cast.” The four counties collectively canceled 58K registrations of deceased voters and are resolving fewer than 100 outstanding registrations. The Secretary of State is reviewing 236 “potentially deceased voters who were recorded as having voted” in the 2020 general election. So far, it has found that 169 were “eliminated as erroneous matches” and the review of the remaining is “ongoing.” That remainder includes 17 from the four counties. So far, this effort has not found a deceased voter as having voted.

The state provided the four counties more than 5K records of voter registrations that may be for non-citizens. Of those, a total of six registrations were canceled after the respective county confirmed their non-citizen status. Another 1,200 registrations were canceled by Dallas Co. for “failure to respond to notice of examination,” which does not necessarily lead to the conclusion that these registered voters were non-citizens. The counties were reviewing a little over 300 potential felon registrations, most of whose felony convictions are recent.

All told, the report does not demonstrate that any fraudulent votes were cast or counted in the four counties, which represented 35% of the statewide vote in the 2020 general election. The report demonstrates that counties – these four at least – are following state law with respect to the accuracy of their elections and maintenance of voter rolls.

Early voting for the March 1 primary elections begins in six weeks.

GOV (Likely R): The campaign of former Sen. Don Huffines (R-Dallas) aired an ad during yesterday’s (Sunday’s) Dallas Cowboys game promising to end the “invasion” of the state’s southern border, “put prayer back in our schools, restore our culture” and get another SuperBowl ring to the Cowboys.

The ad does not mention Gov. Greg Abbott (R) but does include footage of Florida Gov. Rod DeSantis (R).

SD12 open (Likely R): Rep. Tan Parker’s (R-Flower Mound) campaign announced he has more than $1M on hand as of the end of December.

SD27 open (Lean D): Reps. Terry Canales (D-Edinburg), Bobby Guerra (D-Mission), Abel Herrero (D-Robstown), Oscar Longoria (D-Mission), Mando Martinez (D-Weslaco) and Sergio Muñoz Jr. (D-Mission) endorsed Morgan LaMantia over their colleague, Rep. Alex Dominguez (D-Brownsville), for the seat being vacated by Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr. (D-Brownsville).

HD12 open (Safe R): Retiring Rep. Ben Leman (R-Iola) endorsed Ben Bius over Rep. Kyle Kacal (R-College Station).

Mail Ballots: Texans eligible to vote by mail may begin requesting ballots for 2022. The new application form includes a section for the voter to write their driver’s license or election identification certificate number. If the voter has neither of these forms of identification, the voter must write the last four digits of their Social Security number.

Voters Guides: The League of Women Voters is gathering candidates’ responses to their questionnaire, which will be included in localized Voters Guides before the primary election. Candidates are encouraged to submit their responses.

Election Prosecution: Atty. Gen. Ken Paxton (R) has asked the Court of Criminal Appeals to reconsider its recent ruling concluding his office has no constitutional authority to prosecute election law violations.

Note: We have corrected an erroneous reference in the HD12 news.

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