In late September, Donald Trump pushed Texas Republicans to launch an unnecessary "audit" of its 2020 elections. Less than half a day later, GOP officials in the Lone Star State complied with the former president's request.
As we discussed at the time, the review would focus on four counties — three of which were carried by the Democratic ticket, despite Republican victories in the state — none of which faced credible allegations of election irregularities.
It was only a matter of time before the investigation told us what we already knew: There's no reason to question the validity of Texas' 2020 election results. As the Texas Tribune reported on New Year's Eve, the "audit" hasn't turned up anything.
The Texas secretary of state's office has released the first batch of results from its review into the 2020 general election, finding few issues despite repeated, unsubstantiated claims by GOP leaders casting doubts on the integrity of the electoral system. The first phase of the review, released New Year's Eve, highlighted election data from four counties — Harris, Dallas, Tarrant and Collin — that showed few discrepancies between electronic and hand counts of ballots in a sample of voting precincts.
It's worth emphasizing that the review isn't yet complete — there's still a second phase underway — but there's nothing in the first phase to suggest there were any meaningful problems with Texas' 2020 elections. The article added:
The official overseeing the review, Secretary of State John Scott, previously helped Trump challenge 2020 election results in Pennsylvania. Appointed to the position by Abbott, Scott said in an October interview with The Texas Tribune that President Joe Biden won the 2020 election and that he has "not seen anything" to suggest that the election was stolen from Trump.
Part of what makes this notable is the familiarity of the circumstances. Arizona Republicans launched an election "audit," and it came to an ignominious end. Michigan Republicans launched a review of their own, and all they found was a mountain of discredited far-right lies. The Texas Republicans' examination isn't finished just yet, but its preliminary findings are entirely in line with expectations.
I don't doubt that these absurd investigations will continue — Wisconsin, I'm looking in your direction for a reason — but those waiting for these reviews to turn up important evidence of widespread wrongdoing need to lower their expectations.
Making matters considerably worse are the practical effects. Texas Republicans spent part of 2021 making it even harder to vote in the state, banning drive-through voting, restricting voting by mail, banning voting in overnight hours, empowering partisan poll watchers, and restricting absentee voting. As regular readers know, the Lone Star State's election system was already flawed, but Texas Republicans were determined to make it considerably worse, on purpose, in the hopes of creating an electoral advantage that would keep them in power for the foreseeable future.
GOP officials in the state justified the changes by pointing to concerns over the 2020 results. At this point, the party's own "audit" can't find any meaningful problems with the 2020 results.
Any chance Texas Republicans will examine the latest findings and undo their voter-suppression tactics?