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Texas secretary of state's office begins a 'full forensic audit' of the 2020 general election in four counties after Trump raised 'big questions' about results in a state he carried

 Texas election officials said Thursday night that they were auditing the 2020 results in four large counties hours after former President Donald Trump, continuing to falsely claim the election was stolen, pressed Republican Gov. Greg Abbott for a ballot review.

The move came hours after a letter where Trump called for the probe, 'despite my big win in Texas.'

'You know your fellow Texans have big questions about the November 2020 Election,' Trump wrote.

It also came as Trump hyped the results of an Arizona 'forensic audit' of the election, undertaken by the private firm Cyber Ninjas at the request of the state's GOP-controlled Senate.

That $6 million, six-month audit is expected to confirm that Democrat Joe Biden won Maricopa County – just as election officials initially determined.

The draft audit obtained by the Arizona Republic shows Biden won the critical county by a larger margin than the initial county election results.

A hand count concluded Biden beat Trump by 45,469 votes, compared to county results of 45,109. 

The continuing action on election audits, 10 months after Election Day, comes in a week with new revelations about Trump's efforts to muster legal arguments that former Vice President Mike Pence could have tried to use to stop certified votes from being counted in a joint session of Congress.

Trump won Texas last year by 5.5 percentage points, the closest margin of victory by a GOP presidential nominee in decades.

The audited counties will include the major Democratic strongholds around Houston and Dallas, as well as Tarrant County, which for years has been the largest GOP-controlled county in Texas but went for President Joe Biden last year.

'Under existing Texas laws, the Secretary of State has the authority to conduct a full and comprehensive forensic audit of any election and has already begun the process in Texas´ two largest Democrat counties and two largest Republican counties,' the Texas Secretary of State's Office said in a statement.

Former President Donald Trump, right, urged Texas officials to review the 2020 election ballots cast in four counties that Biden won

Former President Donald Trump, right, urged Texas officials to review the 2020 election ballots cast in four counties that Biden won

The audit will review the ballots cast in counties near Houston and Dallas, as well as Tarrant County. Pictured, Texan voters waiting to cast their Ballot on October 13

The audit will review the ballots cast in counties near Houston and Dallas, as well as Tarrant County. Pictured, Texan voters waiting to cast their Ballot on October 13

Voters in Harris County, Texas, put their ballots through on October 30. Trump won the state by the smallest margin of any other GOP presidential candidate

Voters in Harris County, Texas, put their ballots through on October 30. Trump won the state by the smallest margin of any other GOP presidential candidate

The office did not say what prompted the announcement in an evening news release. Earlier this year, Keith Ingram, the office's elections administrator, said the 2020 elections in Texas were 'safe and secure.'

It went on to say the office expects the Legislature to provide funding for the audit. It was not clear who would conduct the review, and a spokesman for the office did not return a message late Thursday.

The Secretary of State is appointed by the governor in Texas but has remained vacant since Ruth Ruggero Hughs stepped down in May. 


An Abbott spokeswoman did not respond to questions about the announcement late Thursday.

Trump called on Abbott to conduct an audit of the Texas election in a statement earlier Thursday, saying 'your citizens don't trust the election system.' 

Trump has falsely claimed that claimed that voting fraud and irregularities cost him electoral votes in Arizona, where on Friday his supporters hired to review the 2020 vote count are expected to deliver their findings.

The Texas Secretary of State's Office said it will conduct a full forensic audit on Thursday

The Texas Secretary of State's Office said it will conduct a full forensic audit on Thursday

The other county in the Texas review is booming Collin County, in suburban Dallas, which went for Trump last year.

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, a Democrat and the county's top elected official, swiftly criticized the move. 'Donald Trump ordered Gov. Abbott to audit the 2020 Texas election and, like clockwork, TX just initiated an audit of Harris County voters. Democracy isn´t a game,' she tweeted.

The Texas audit comes after a Republican-commissioned six-month, $6million review of more than 2million 2020 election ballots in Arizona confirmed Biden's win in Maricopa County, shutting down Trump's fraud claims. 

Private contractors prepared the draft report, obtained by the Washington Post, confirmed that more than 45,000 ballots were cast for Biden than for Trump in the county. 

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