The new division, according to a release, will conduct comprehensive "forensic audits" in the state, adding that the secretary of state is conducting the "largest forensic audit in the country."
Abbott requested the funds Thursday and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan issued a proposal Friday, which Abbott then signed.
The approval of funding for the secretary of state to create the new division comes after legislation regarding such audits failed to pass. Legislation regarding election audits, like Texas Senate Bill 47, most recently passed in the Texas Senate during the third special session. However, the bill did not progress in the House following its passage in the Senate on Oct. 5.
SB 47 specifically looked at auditing the 2020 election and provided guidelines for future audits.
Former President Donald Trump previously called on Abbott and Texas lawmakers to pass an election audit bill during the third special session to look at the 2020 election in Texas. Following that letter, the Texas Secretary of State's Office said it would begin a "full forensic audit" of the 2020 general election in four Texas counties including Collin, Dallas, Harris and Tarrant. It was unclear what prompted the audit, but there has been no evidence of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election in Texas.
A total of 25 members of the Texas House of Representatives then called on Gov. Abbott to end "illegal election audits" in Texas, saying there has been no legal authority granted by the Legislature or state law to conduct the audits.
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