Texas House Republican introduces bill calling for forensic audit of 2020 election

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A Republican member of the Texas House introduced a bill Monday seeking a forensic audit of the election in the state's largest counties.

The Texas Voter Confidence Act, filed by GOP Rep. Steve Toth, would authorize the governor, the lieutenant governor and the speaker of the House — all of whom are Republicans — to select an independent third party to conduct the election audit. The review would focus on the votes cast in Texas' 13 counties with populations over 415,000.

Former President Donald Trump carried Texas in the 2020 election; however, President Joe Biden won in areas including Houston, Austin and San Antonio — the biggest metropolitan areas.

"We need a forensic audit to uncover all the voter fraud," Toth said Monday in a post on Woodlandsonline, a community website. "Texans want to know more about the claims of voter fraud and deserve to have confidence in their elections. ... Voters want to know that their legal vote counts and matters."

The state House Democratic delegation has fled en masse to Washington, D.C., to deny Republicans a quorum to enact voting restrictions. Other GOP-led states have introduced or passed dozens of election-related bills following Trump's repeated baseless claims that the election was stolen. In Arizona, where Biden won the presidential race, Republicans are also conducting a costly and controversial audit of ballots in the state's largest county.

Toth's bill would take effect immediately if it gets two-thirds of the votes of all the members elected to each chamber of the Legislature. If it passes but does not meet that threshold, it would take effect on the 91st day after the last day of the legislative session.

Rep. Chris Turner, who chairs the Texas House Democratic Caucus, told The Dallas Morning News on Tuesday that the legislation appears to be based on "the lie that there's widespread voter fraud and Donald Trump really won the election." Turner said the bill's parameters also appear to include both Democratic and Republican strongholds in the states.

"I don't know if these folks are aware of it, Trump actually did carry Texas," Turner said. "So I'm not sure what they're trying to find in their audit."

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