Abbott in his statement about the appointment praised Scott’s decades of experience in election law and litigation. When Abbott was attorney general, Scott served as a deputy attorney general.
“John understands the importance of protecting the integrity of our elections and building the Texas brand on an international stage,” the governor said. “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.”
The Texas Tribune first reported on the appointment.
The statement made no mention of Scott’s role in perpetuating Trump’s baseless claims that widespread voter fraud rigged the 2020 election for President Biden. Dozens of courts nationwide rejected the various lawsuits, with a Trump-appointed judge in Pennsylvania roundly rejecting the campaign’s challenge.
“Calling an election unfair does not make it so. Charges require specific allegations and then proof. We have neither here,” Judge Stephanos Bibas, a Trump appointee to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, wrote last November for a panel of three judges — all appointed by Republican presidents.
As secretary of state, Scott will be Texas’s top election administration official. The Lone Star State has been without a top election official since May, when Ruth Hughs, the former secretary of state, resigned after the Senate refused to confirm her. Scott will serve as interim secretary of state until he is up for confirmation by the legislature, which is not scheduled to meet again until 2023.
Scott briefly represented Trump last November, signing on to represent the former president’s attempts to prevent Pennsylvania’s election results from being certified. But he filed a motion to withdraw as a counsel for Trump just a few days later after agreeing with the plaintiffs that they would be best represented by different attorneys.
Abbott and other GOP officials in the state have increasingly come under criticism for backing legislation that critics say could make voting more difficult for many state residents. The governor claims that this is necessary in response to unproven concerns about voter fraud in 2020. However, there was no proof of voter fraud in the 2020 election despite baseless claims from the former president and his call for audits in Texas and elsewhere to review last year’s election results. Trump won Texas.
Rose Clouston, the Texas Democratic Party voter-protection director, criticized the appointment.
“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,” Clouston said in a statement.