State Watch

Florida judge involved in vote-counting donated to Trump multiple times: report

A judge in Florida was discovered to have donated to President Trump’s campaign and reportedly displayed yard signs in support of his reelection bid, actions that are not allowed in his role as a judge and part of a local vote-counting board.

Judge Brent Shore currently acts as the head of Duval County’s canvassing board. The Florida Times-Union reports that records from the Federal Election Commission’s donor database show he donated 12 times to Trump since 2016.

According to judicial rules by the Florida Supreme Court, judges shall not “make a contribution to a political organization or candidate.”

Canvassing board rules also do not allow members to display a sign for any candidate’s campaign, the Times-Union reports.

A reporter for the newspaper observed that the judge had a yard sign for Trump and two for Rep. John Rutherford (R-Fla.) in his yard. He also had a Trump-Pence banner in his window and four Trump stickers on the panels of his front door.

The judge did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill.

He also did not provide comment for the Times-Union report; however, his wife, Kathryn Petway Shore, spoke to a journalist who knocked on their door and insisted her husband had not made any political donations and claimed responsibility for the campaign material on their property. 

As the article notes, a judicial ethics opinion from the Florida Supreme Court said the spouses of judges should also refrain from displaying campaign signs at property where the judge lives.

Kathryn Shore told the reporter, “My husband would never do anything unethical or improper. I am not a judge, and those signs are mine. And yes, that’s my half of the front yard.”

Local judges and lawyers declined to provide comment for the article, the Florida Times Union reports, with some attorneys saying they feared retribution from Shore.

Shore’s conduct on the canvassing board has also drawn scrutiny. His refusal to lift a ban on media photographing or videotaping the board’s proceedings has elicited outrage, especially as several court rulings in Florida have stated board meetings cannot disallow nondisruptive photography.

The canvassing board Shore is head of reviews voter intent ballots that have been rejected by voting machines. These ballots may have been filled in incorrectly or irregularly and are filled out by a staffer according to what the board decides so that they can be counted.

Tags Donald Trump Florida Florida voting John Rutherford Trump reelection campaign

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