Sunday, October 24, 2021

Last Call For The Big Lie, Big Texas Edition

If there was somehow any doubt left over the validity of Republican state "election audits" consisting of anything more than flimsy excuses to assuage loser Donald Trump's ego and to provide a pretense for the wholesale theft of federal elections in 2022 and 2024, Texas GOP Gov. Gregg Abbott is making sure that the Arizona audit farce is coming to the Lone Star State, led by one of Trump's Big Lie lawyers.

Amid pressure from former President Donald J. Trump to support a broad review of the 2020 election in Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott on Thursday appointed as secretary of state a lawyer who briefly joined Mr. Trump’s challenge to the 2020 results in Pennsylvania.

The new secretary of state, John Scott, will oversee Texas elections at a time when a new law imposing further restrictions on voting and a Republican redistricting plan have raised alarm among voting rights advocates that the state’s growing nonwhite population would not be fairly represented.

More immediately, Mr. Scott, a Fort Worth lawyer who worked for Mr. Abbott when he was the state’s attorney general, will take charge of a limited review of the 2020 election results that Mr. Abbott, a Republican, ordered last month for four of the most populous counties in Texas.

“I am confident that John’s experience and expertise will enhance his oversight and leadership over the biggest and most thorough election audit in the country,” Mr. Abbott said in a statement announcing the appointment.

Though he must eventually be confirmed by the State Senate, Mr. Scott can serve in the role in the interim. The Senate is not in regular session again until 2023.

The appointment brought immediate criticism from Democrats and voting groups. “The timing of this announcement is clearly intended to subvert our democratic process in a way that allows Greg Abbott’s completely unsuitable nominee to oversee our 2022 elections without having to face confirmation hearings,” said Stephanie G√≥mez, the Texas associate director for Common Cause.

Mr. Scott was among the lawyers representing Mr. Trump’s campaign as it filed suit to challenge the results of the November 2020 election in Pennsylvania, a state that President Biden won by 80,555 votes.

But Mr. Scott withdrew from the case, as did another member of his law firm, Bryan Hughes, on the eve of a hearing, after a circuit court ruling that effectively gutted their arguments. The case was ultimately dismissed.

“The lesson from the Pennsylvania case is that John Scott is a guy you can trust to follow the law,” said Mr. Hughes, a Republican state senator from Tyler, Texas. He added that, while in the attorney general’s office, Mr. Scott represented Texas in litigation over the state’s voter identification law, “so this area of the law is not unfamiliar to him.”

Mr. Hughes was the lead sponsor of Texas’ restrictive new election rules, which passed this year over concerted opposition from Democrats. The new rules broaden the authority of the secretary of state in elections.

No credible evidence has emerged of widespread voter fraud during the 2020 election in Texas or in any other state. Mr. Trump carried the state by more than 5 percentage points and Republicans maintained a lock on the statehouse despite a well-funded effort by Democrats to try to flip control.
 
So the question then becomes "why the audit"?  Trump won the state, and Texas has already passed a raft of new voter suppression laws that will help keep Republicans in power for the foreseeable future. A thorough audit like Abbott is promtsing would show that...Trump won the state. The bill advancing the audit in the state legislature quietly died earlier this week because even Texas Republicans don't feel the need to do it.

But Abbott is going to do it anyway. What's the deal?

The "deal" is to go after election officials in Texas's largest urban (and blue) counties: Dallas, Harris, Tarrant and Collin and replace them with Republicans. They need the pretense to do that. This will be it.

They'll never stop trying to rig elections, folks.

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