The first progress report on the audit of the 2020 presidential election in Texas has been released.
It shows only a few discrepancies between the electronic count and a recount by hand.
The audit is reviewing nearly 3.9 million votes cast in Dallas, Tarrant, Collin, and Harris counties.
It was ordered by Governor Greg Abbott, at the request of former President Donald Trump, despite Trump winning the state by 5%.
The state is continuing to investigate nearly 600 votes statewide that may have been cast illegally, but there is no indication of any widespread fraud.
Each of the counties with small discrepancies between the electronic vote count and the hand vote count had explanations for the problem. For example, in Collin County, the curbside voting machines did not produce a paper record, and in Dallas County, there was a data entry problem.
"Once those are all investigated, we'll find very few votes cast illegally, and so Texas will come out looking pretty good," SMU political scientist Cal Jillson said.
After reading the state's progress report released at noon on New Year’s Eve, Jillson said the Texas election process will likely be validated when the final audit comes out.
"If we have a handful of illegal votes out of 3.88 million cast in these four counties, I’ll be surprised," Jillson added.
The Texas Secretary of State’s Office said the auditors continue to investigate 509 voters who may have cast ballots in Texas and another state, as well as 67 votes cast in the names of dead voters.
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It is important to note those votes in question are a drop in the ocean of the state's 11.3 million votes cast.
"Whether they voted in another state and Texas, voted more than once in their county, whether someone not a U.S. Citizen voted, which should not have been done, the vast majority will be resolved as clerical errors, or easily understood glitches in the process, rather than intentional illegal voting," Jillson explained.
The state's audit is looking at the two largest Democratic counties, Dallas and Harris, and the two largest Republican counties, Collin and Tarrant.
Of those counties, the state found 5,483 possible non-U.S. citizen voter records. Dallas County has already cancelled more than 1,100 of those records, while Collin and Tarrant counties are still reviewing each record.
Keep in mind, those are voter records, not necessarily votes cast.
Harris County has not yet responded to the secretary of state.
"People who want to argue the election was fraught with fraud and corruption, probably stolen, will point to those unresolved discrepancies as part of their case," Jillson said. "Others will note, as the rest of the process plays out, almost all discrepancies will be resolved in a clear and understandable way."
Jillson said perhaps the most comforting part of the audit is that the discrepancy between the electronic votes counted and the hand count is one-tenth of a percent.
"I would urge people to look with clear eyes at these reports that they do suggest that our elections are well and honestly conducted," he said.
The Texas Secretary of State's Office is now working on phase two of the audit.
A spokesman said the office's request for documents covers more election materials than any other audit in the United States to date.