A Texas election integrity group is reviewing thousands of ballots from the 2020 GOP primary in Tarrant County.
The Tarrant County Citizens for Election Integrity (TCCEI) specifically has focused on the U.S. Senate primary, in which Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, won with 73% of the vote in the county. His closest challenger garnered 13%.
The group also alleges a range of fraudulent activities related to the 2020 November general election in Tarrant and other Texas counties. TCCEI already has requested to review that election's ballots after they become public record in September.
"We're not here as Republicans or Democrats. A lot of people don't have faith in our elections, so we're just here counting, making sure that what the secretary of state's numbers say are right," John Raymond, a TCCEI volunteer told Votebeat Texas.
About 40 TCCEI volunteers are examining more than 300,000 ballots that have been held in 300 boxes.
Tarrant County Election Administrator Heider Garcia said "there's nothing wrong with the election," but added that "the ballots are now public, and it's their right [to inspect them], and we will do everything that we have to do to make sure they can exercise their right to inspect public records."
One TCCEI volunteer, Charles Wedemeyer, said there was a lot of unnecessary secrecy in the county's elections.
"The act of voting is secret, but that's it. The rest of it is public," Wedemeyer told Votebeat Texas. "The citizens own this deal. But we had to wait 22 months to do this. It's important for the records to be secure and protected but it's not secret. The ballots should be available within five days."
TCCEI first asked to inspect the primary ballots last fall, Votebeat Texas reported. However, the Texas Election Code requires voted ballots to be retained in their original ballot box for 60 days after Election Day.
The "election custodian" then may transfer those voted ballots to another secure container, where they must be kept for a 22-month preservation period, after which they become subject to public records requests.
Garcia told Votebeat Texas that his office already had received requests to review the November 2020 election.
"This is just to start, it's like a sample for us," Raymond told Votebeat. "We have to start somewhere, and I'm guessing, these were also the ballots that were available first."
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