Local Democrats call for action after Duval County judge resigns from vote-counting board

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Jacksonville Democrats are calling for rejected votes to be recounted after a local judge who was the head of a vote-counting board in Duval County resigned from his position.

Senior Duval County Judge Brent Shore resigned from the Duval County Canvassing Board on Thursday after it was discovered that he has signs supporting President Donald Trump with campaign signs in his front yard and has donated to the president’s re-election campaign. The donations are in possible violation of rules that require people in his job to refrain from showing political partisanship.

The canvassing board was already at the center of a recent controversy that has captured statewide attention.

The board, which reviews questionable ballots, made the decision to ban cameras during its meetings and is limiting the number of spectators. Shore was outspoken about the decision this week. Court action is still possible even though the board made the decision to livestream parts of the meeting.

“The actions of the canvassing board, and their chair, Judge Shore, who knowingly violated judicial ethics and canvas board rules have brought shame to our community,” said Bonnie Hendrix, Jacksonville President of Women’s March Florida. “It is unconscionable that this canvassing board has repeatedly denied the public and the media, easy access to observe and record the ballot review process, which is a public meeting, and we should have access as permitted by Florida State Sunshine Laws.”

In a press conference Thursday in front of the Duval County Supervisor of Elections Office downtown, Democratic leaders laid out a list of demands in the wake of Shore’s resignation that included a recount of all ballots that were rejected and for Shore to step down form his position as a judge.

“If they do not want to recount the ballots then count them all because everything they are doing is subjective,” said Pastor R.L. Gundy, a voting rights advocate. “It is corruption. It is conniving. It is scheming. It is unlawful and...that judge needs to come off to the bench.”

Gundy also called for an investigation of Duval County Supervisor of Elections Mike Hogan.

“We have a right, all citizens, regardless of your color, regardless of your party affiliation, we all have a right to go to the polls and vote, without having to deal with this all over again after what happened in 2000,” Gundy said.

In the 2000 presidential race between Al Gore and George W. Bush, around 27,000 ballots in Duval County were thrown out, largely due to overvotes, the Florida Times-Union reported.

The leaders also said the board needs to allow the media and the public to record the process, ensure clear visibility of the ballots and to position the microphones of those involved appropriately to allow the public to hear their discussions and their decisions.

“We must expect better and they must do better,” Hendrix said.

The NAACP of Jacksonville took their call to action a step further and are asking for Brent Shore to step down as Duval County Judge.

“What Judge Shore has done is a total disgrace to the Jacksonville community and to the citizens of Duval County as we are facing one of the most important election in our country and in this county. He has shown a lack of responsibility in his role as Judge and his actions were both reckless and unethical,” read part of a statement from the Jacksonville chapter.

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