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Texas secretary of state’s office auditing four counties’ 2020 elections months after an official called the statewide process 'smooth and secure'

The agency did not explain why it was auditing results in Collin, Dallas, Harris and Tarrant counties.

THE TEXAS TRIBUNE -- The Texas Secretary of State’s Office announced late Thursday that it has begun a “full forensic audit” of the 2020 general election in four Texas counties: Collin, Dallas, Harris and Tarrant. But the statement from that agency did not explain what prompted the move.

There has been no evidence of widespread voter fraud in Texas in 2020.

Sam Taylor, a spokesman for the office, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The announcement came hours after Republican former President Donald Trump requested Gov. Greg Abbott add an election audit bill to this year’s third special session.

It was unclear if that request was related to the announcement from the Secretary of State’s office. But Taylor’s press release said the agency has “already begun the process in Texas’ two largest Democrat counties and two largest Republican counties—Dallas, Harris, Tarrant, and Collin.”

Former Secretary of State Ruth Ruggero Hughs, who oversaw the 2020 elections, resigned when the Texas Senate refused to confirm her appointment. A deputy for Hughs called the 2020 election “smooth and secure” earlier this year.

Abbott has not yet named a replacement for Hughs.

Trump has pushed baseless claims of massive voter fraud months since he lost election last year — as he did after winning in 2016 — and has mounted numerous legal challenges to the certification of the 2020 election’s results.

Many Texas Republicans have echoed or supported Trump’s efforts to cast doubts on the election.

This story originally appeared in The Texas Tribune.

Disclosure: Texas Secretary of State has been a financial supporter of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors. Financial supporters play no role in the Tribune's journalism. Find a complete list of them here.