FORT WORTH, Texas — County officials say they were caught off guard by an election audit from the Texas Secretary of State’s office.
“We saw the Texas Secretary of State's Facebook page that said, 'Oh, by the way, we're auditing,'” said Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley.
“I was at home and started getting phone calls from media asking about it,” said Collin County elections administrator Bruce Sherbet.
The announcement said the office had started a “forensic audit of the 2020 Election” in Dallas, Tarrant, Harris and Collin counties, which the reasoning being the two largest Democrat and Republican counties, though Joe Biden won three of the four.
The news also came just hours after former President Donald Trump sent an email asking for a “forensic audit” of the state he won by around 600,000 votes, and despite the secretary of state’s office previously calling the election “smooth and secure”.
“It's just a political game to undermine democracy and whether you're a conservative or a liberal you should be offended by this,” said Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins.
Governor Greg Abbott told Fox News in an interview Sunday that the audit was well underway.
“These audits that the state of Texas is doing actually began months ago,” said Abbott.
Harris County’s attorney sent a letter to the Secretary of State’s office asking what had been done since they had heard nothing about the audit. Tuesday, the Secretary of State released a timeline, but county officials say the first phase, which is what was underway, are processes already completed and are done after every election.
“Those things that have happened in the past were things that would normally have happened and did happen,” said Whitley.
“There is no real audit happening,” Jenkins said. “The things that they said were already underway, or the things that all 254 counties do after every election.”
The second phase sets date of spring of 2022, but county officials say they already have the information listed as being requested.
“I hope that it doesn't take till the spring of ’22,” Whitley said. I would rather get this done. Get it behind us and move on.”
“They're going to sit on that information until after the primaries in 2022, so this is all political,” said Jenkins.
Sherbet said he can’t remember a similar audit but said he’ll cooperate fully. Dallas and Tarrant counties say they’ll do the same. All say they’re confident the new audit won’t find issues.
“We don’t know of any irregularities that were found,” said Sherbet.
"I feel extremely confident in the results that came out of Tarrant County," Whitley said. “If that gives people the confidence to say, 'OK, there's the election was a was a good election, then great, and let's just move on and get past this.'”
“There won't be any issues if they seriously thought that there were any issues, they would have asked for this the day after the election, not a year after the election,” Jenkins said. “I think people can see it for what it is. It’s all politics.”