On Thursday morning, Greg Abbott announced he was appointing attorney John Scott to be the Texas Secretary of State, the Chief Election Officer for Texas. The move was notable for Scott’s connection to former President Trump and his attempt to overturn Joe Biden’s election win.
Scott was a part of a legal team working for Trump as he was contesting the results of the Pennsylvania election (which Biden won). Just before a court hearing for Trump’s lawsuit, Scott and Bryan Hughes, who is a Republican state senator in Texas, withdrew from the legal team.
By appointing Scott after the third special legislative session ended, Abbott is bypassing the need for state senate approval. The previous Texas Secretary of State, Ruth Hughs announced she was leaving in May. Last month, the office of the Secretary of State announced there would be a 2020 election audit in four large counties: Harris, Dallas, Tarrant, and Collin.
Trump has been putting pressure on Abbott to conduct a full audit of the 2020 election in Texas, similar to what occurred in Arizona (which showed Biden winning by even more votes). Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has also called for another special session for an election audit bill.
Around Texas and the country, many criticized the appointment of Scott, who will likely oversee the 2022 election. Rose Clouston, the Texas Democratic Party Voter Protection Director, issued a statement noting Scott’s ties to a president who tried to orchestrate a coup. “Texans deserve a chief election official who has dedicated their career to the protection of the right to vote and not one who participated in Trump’s lawsuits undercutting our democracy,” said Clouston.