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Duval judge resigns from vote-counting board after Trump donations revealed

Darvin Nelson, News Editor

Featured Image of Judge Brent Shore in Duval County Courtroom by Bob Self.

A judge resigned as chairman of the Duval County Canvassing Board on Thursday, after uncoverings of his donations to the Trump campaign and other Republican efforts.

Judge Brent Shore had donated a total of $170 to Trump across 12 different occasions, USA Today reported. The report also stated that Shore donated a total of $178 to the Republican National Committee, the National Republican Congressional Committee, and the National Republican Senatorial Committee — in the past two years.

Shore was also criticized for not changing the rules that stop the public from photographing or videotaping vote-counting meetings, the report said. 

Shore’s wife, Kathryn Petway Shore, claims that the Federal Elections Commission’s donor database must be wrong  and that her husband had not donated to Trump, according to the report.

Judge Shore has yet to return requests for comments.

Photographs were taken outside Shore’s home that depicted a Trump sign, and two signs for Republican U.S. Rep. John Rutherford in his yard. A Trump-Pence banner hangs from his front window, and there are four stickers on the window panels by his front door — one reads “Americans for the Trump agenda,” according to the report.

Kathryn Shore said that the signs belonged to her.

“My husband would never do anything unethical or improper,” she said to USA Today. “I am not a judge, and those signs are mine. And yes, that’s my half of the front yard.”

The County Canvassing Board consists of three impartial members: the supervisor of elections, a county court judge who acts as the chair, and the chair of the board of county commissioners. A board member begins their duties during the pre-election testing of voting equipment scheduled within the 10 days before early voting.  

Their activities escalate as canvassing of mail-in ballots begins, which can start as early as 15 days before an election and continue through election night. More of the board’s duties include post-election voting system audits, and certification of election results.

Elections Supervisor Mike Hogan, City Councilman Michael Boylan, and county Judge Gary Flower makeup Duval’s canvassing board. Judge Flower has been absent, so Shore, as Flower’s alternate, has been leading the board.

Multiple council members have requests related to the issue, stating that, “All actions and determinations of the Elections Canvassing Board in which Judge Brent Shore served as a member and acting chairman should be voided, reviewed and recommended because of the actual and implied appearances of a lack of impartiality and fairness.”

Judge Shore raised some of the public’s eyebrows, as some are demanding a recount.

Shore’s violations could have potential consequences, as Florida’s judicial rules don’t allow judges to make political donations, or publicly show political support for candidates.

The code of Judicial Conduct Canon 7 states that judges shall not “publicly endorse or publicly oppose another candidate for public office,” or “solicit funds for, pay an assessment to or make a contribution to a political organization or candidate.”

Enduring those actions is considered “inappropriate political activity.”

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For more information or news tips, or if you see an error in this story or have any compliments or concerns, contact [email protected].

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