TEXAS, USA — The Texas Secretary of State’s office now expects to release the findings of its 2020 election audit after the end of September, a full year after it began.
For weeks now, the U.S. House Jan. 6 committee has outlined what led to the deadly riot at the Capitol. Former President Donald Trump officials, including Attorney General Bill Barr, revealed claims of election fraud were lies.
"I did not agree with the idea of saying the election was stolen which I told the president was bulls---," said Barr.
Last fall, former President Trump called for a "forensic audit" of Texas' election. The state announced an audit was underway hours later.
“I don’t think there’s going to be any evidence found of any widespread fraud that would’ve had any impact on the outcome of the elections," said Remi Garza.
Garza is both in charge of elections in Cameron County and leads the Texas Association of Elections Administrators.
He wasn’t surprised when on New Year’s Eve, the secretary of state’s office found just 32 errors out of nearly 4 million votes across Dallas, Collin, Harris and Tarrant counties.
“There wasn’t anything that happened or that’s going to be found that would ultimately question the integrity of the elections are they’re conducted here in Texas," said Garza.
The four counties made up about 35% of the total votes cast statewide in the 2020 election.
In a new statement, the Secretary of State’s Office says it is still waiting for additional documents from Dallas and Harris counties and plans to finish its audit by the end of September and release findings soon after with early voting set to start in late October.
"The statutory retention period for all election records is 22 months, which means after September 2022 all of the documents from the November 2020 can legally be discarded by the counties. Our agency’s forensic audit division plans to complete its work by the end of September, with the results likely released shortly thereafter," said the office in a statement.
“To be honest it has taken a little longer than what we expected, but I think they have done multiple document requests and multiple site visits at some of these locations," Garza said. “I think it’s just going to take time for them to understand what they’re looking for and what they might find."
Election scrutiny has changed laws across the country and lowered the number of people willing to volunteer for elections.
In a January 6 hearing, volunteers shared how their lives have been changed because of aggressive backlash.
“I’ve lost my name. I’ve lost my reputation and I’ve lost my sense of security," said former Georgia election worker Ruby Freeman.
“I think there’s been some concern by the people who work elections. They’re afraid of becoming targets, but ultimately they’re willing to step up," said Garza.
Texas’ audit will end a full year after it started but fighting misinformation about election fraud will likely continue much longer.