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Here’s why Collin County received high praise in Texas’ 2020 election audit

Poll Watching Photo
Jacob Wells
/
People sign in at a Collin County Republican Party election integrity townhall and training. The media was not allowed access.

Texas’ top election official said the county’s operations were “unmatched.”

The Texas Secretary of State’s audit of the 2020 general election called Collin County “the model of how to run elections in Texas.”

The audit was released Dec. 19. It reviewed 2020 election records in the state’s two largest Democratic counties – Harris and Dallas – and the two largest Republican counties – Tarrant and Collin. The Texas Secretary of State ordered the audit shortly after former president Donald Trump wrote Governor Greg Abbott an open letter in 2021 calling for audit legislation.

The audit concluded the 2020 election was secure, despite irregularities caused by the pandemic. It said all four counties have detailed procedures and forms to document their compliance with state law.

Collin County was singled out for praise for how it ran its election.

“While not perfect, the county’s records management, record quality, and procedures were unmatched,” the audit said.

Specifically, Collin County digitized all its records. And it was also the only county of the four with a contingency plan to contact the Texas secretary of state’s office in the event of an emergency or disaster, according to the audit.

The audit made a point to include the dates the Texas secretary of state certified the election machines ahead of the votes in the four counties. It also mentioned the fact that the machines can’t connect to the Internet.

These facts cut against specific claims some Collin County activists had made in the aftermath of 2020. Precinct chairs of the local Republican party have spoken during public comments at county commissioner’s court meetings about supposed election fraud.

The election audit concluded otherwise.

Yet Clint Pruett, GOP chair for Collin County precinct 204 in McKinney, wrote in an email to KERA that he still has concerns.

“The audit found Collin County to have the best process, yet there were still many issues,” Pruett said.

The examples of supposed election fraud Pruett described were not in the audit, which ran 359 pages.

Joseph McGlynn, a communications professor at the University of North Texas, said changing people’s minds about misinformation about the 2020 election depends on who’s issuing the correction.

“What it would require is for someone to dispute that false information and for that to come from a messenger that they trust even more than the person who advanced the misinformation in the first place,” McGlynn said.

Got a tip? Email Caroline Love at clove@kera.org.

Caroline Love is a Report For America corps member for KERA News.

KERA News is made possible through the generosity of our members. If you find this reporting valuable, consider making a tax-deductible gift today. Thank you.

Caroline Love covers Collin County for KERA and is a member of the Report for America corps. Previously, Caroline covered daily news at Houston Public Media. She has a master's degree from Northwestern University with an emphasis on investigative social justice journalism. During grad school, she reported three feature stories for KERA. She also has a bachelor's degree in journalism from Texas Christian University and interned with KERA's Think in 2019.