In November, Republican legislators in Texas allocated $4 million in emergency funding for an Election Audit Division within the Texas secretary of state’s office. The division was created to conduct county-level election audits in accordance with a strict voting law passed by the state legislature in 2021.
American Oversight has obtained records regarding the division’s staffing and salary allocations, which show a budget of about $1.4 million per year for the salaries of 22 employees.
A spreadsheet with lists of employees, positions, and salaries indicates that, as of the end of February, when the office released the records, it had hired 11 employees. An additional 11 positions were labeled “open.” The combined monthly salary of the 11 employees was about $57,000; the division had allocated roughly $63,000 per month for the unfilled positions. The records do not indicate how or if that money is currently being spent.
Two months before the creation of the Election Audit Division, the secretary of state’s office had announced it was conducting a “forensic audit” of the 2020 election in four counties. The announcement came just hours after former President Trump had publicly called for the state to enact audit legislation.
In December, Secretary of State John Scott released a “Phase 1 Progress Report” that found few discrepancies between electronic and hand counts of ballots and largely repeated findings from earlier election reviews. The same month, the Texas Secretary of State’s office announced it was beginning “Phase 2” and requested election-related documents from Collin, Dallas, Harris, and Tarrant counties. As of June, the office has not provided any other update on the second phase.
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