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After Damning Report, Duval Canvassing Board Chair Resigns From Position

Outside of the Duval County Supervisor of Elections Office on Jacksonville's Northside.
Sky Lebron
/
WJCT News
Outside of the Duval County Supervisor of Elections Office on Jacksonville's Northside, where the Canvassing Board meetings are taking place.

Following a report by WJCT News partner The Florida Times-Union that cited rules violations, Duval County Canvassing Board Chair Brent Shore has resigned from his role

Times-Union reporter Andrew Pantazi published an article Thursday morning outlining that Shore had donated to the Trump campaign 12 times and has about a half-dozen signs, stickers and banners at his home supporting President Trump’s reelection. 

According to the Code of Judicial Conduct, judges and candidates cannot "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."

Shortly after the report was released, other local leaders began calling for Shore to step down. 

"I would certainly support the decision that he stepped down for the sake of our credibility of the work that we are doing and the importance of the work that we are doing," Michael Boylan, a canvassing board member and city councilman, told WJCT News.

Boylan said he was disappointed when he read the article, and had no prior knowledge that Shore actively showed support for Trump and donated to his campaign.

"Quite honestly, [there was] no evidence of it," Boylan said. "We've spent two-and-a-half days together reviewing hundreds of ballots, and it didn't manifest itself. His proclivity to support Republican candidates did not manifest itself in our work." 

Ben Frazier of Jacksonville's Northside Coalition released a statement on the subject, saying:  "The root of all evil is the abuse of power and Judge Shore has misused and abused his office, his position and his authority."

Angie Nixon, who is running unopposed for a state representative seat and is slated to begin her term in November, tweeted out her frustration with the findings:

The story even reached past Northeast Florida. Orlando Democratic State Rep. Anna Eskamani also tweeted that Shore should resign. 

Shore was serving as an alternate for the normal Board Chair Gary Flower, who Boylan said might have sought another judge to take his place because Flower had supported a candidate who was still on the ballot, as he did during the primary. 

Boylan said Shore was not planning on attending the upcoming canvassing board meetings because of scheduling conflicts, and another judge was supposed to take his place.

Boylan also said he doesn't believe this will impact the canvassing process, and the overall election for Duval County.  

"I don't see that happening at all," Boylan said. 

Controversy for the canvassing board began last week, when attorneys for the Duval County Democratic Party and News4Jax argued that the board meetings should be livestreamed and recorded for public transparency. 

After a few days and public pressure, Shore and the board agreed to livestream the events through Zoom, but continued to prohibit news cameras from recording the process in the room, and from it being recorded online. 

The canvassing board will meet again Friday morning beginning at 9:30 a.m., where they will continue the process of looking at errant and questionable ballots. The process will continue next week as well. 

Sky Lebron can be reached at slebron@wjct.org, 904-358-6319 or on Twitter at @SkylerLebron.