Texas Secretary of State John Scott announced today he will resign at the end of the year. The move allows him to avoid seeking Senate confirmation, which the previous two secretaries failed to receive.
Scott was appointed to the position by Gov. Greg Abbott in October 2021, primarily for his experience in election law.
The secretary serves as the state’s chief election officer, as well as chief international protocol officer and the governor’s senior advisor and liaison for Texas border and Mexican affairs. The Office of the Secretary of State also publishes government rules and regulations, and is a repository for official and business and commercial records.
“Above all, I am proud to say that Texas has made tremendous progress in restoring faith in our elections over the past year, and that the Texas Secretary of State’s office has developed a successful framework for analyzing and transparently reporting on election security through the forensic election audit process,” Scott said in his resignation letter.
He said that his office would publish the final results of the 2020 general election audit prior to his departure on December 31.
A report on Phase 1 of the audit, which focuses on four large counties (Collin, Dallas, Harris, and Tarrant), was released in December 2021. Completion of Phase 2 of the audit was delayed due to lack of cooperation from Harris County election officials.
The Fort Worth attorney said he intends to return to his private law practice.
The secretary of state is the only unelected state executive officer in Texas. The governor’s appointees are subject to confirmation by the state Senate during the legislative session in which, or after which, they are appointed.
Abbott’s last two secretary of state appointees, David Whitley and Ruth Hughs, failed to get confirmed, requiring them to resign at the end of the regular legislative sessions.