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Elections Committee Chair supports limited election audit, but not full-scale investigation

Inside Texas Politics spoke with Rep. Briscoe Cain about forensic election audits.
Credit: AP
Rep. Briscoe Cain, R-Houston, center, speaks in favor of HB 6, an election bill, in the House Chamber at the Texas Capitol in Austin, Texas, Thursday, May 6, 2021. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

DALLAS — The Chair of the Texas House Elections Committee says even he isn’t sure what, if anything, could be revealed by the forensic election audits in Dallas, Tarrant, Collin and Harris counties recently announced by the Secretary of State’s office.

Representative Briscoe Cain says in many instances, SOS examiners will do what could already be done.  For example, he says risk-limiting audits are already performed by some counties after elections.  Those are audits in which machine-counted results are compared with hand-counted results.  It, in essence, makes sure the computers are right.

And he thinks the obvious will be revealed once this audit is complete.

“I think the forensic election audit is going to find that Donald Trump won the election (in Texas),” Representative Cain said on Inside Texas Politics.

Representative Cain says he does support auditing our elections.  The Republican says the more faith a citizen has in an election, the more likely that citizen is to participate.

He thinks this audit would help in that regard even if it affirms what the Secretary of State’s office already said earlier this year, that the election in Texas was “smooth and secure.”  After that statement, though, then-Secretary of State Ruth Hughs’ appointment wasn’t taken up by the Republican-controlled Senate, essentially relieving her of her duties.  The office has been vacant since June 1.

But Representative Cain doesn’t think an election audit should be performed at any time, for any reason because he sees no need to always go back and question things.  He says the type of audit performed is important as well.

“For example, if it’s a third party that is going into the software and equipment of our voting machines in Texas, right now under our current law, that would decertify those machines,” he said.  “Take Dallas County for example, or someone up there that spent recently a few hundred million dollars on all new equipment, all of that would have to go in the trash.”

Rep. Cain says if the state were to try to audit all election machines in Texas, the price tag could reach a billion dollars.  But he doesn’t know how much this audit might cost, because it’s still not entirely clear what all it will cover, who will do the examining and because of the fact that some audits have already been performed by the counties themselves.