TALLAHASSEE – All Voting is Local Florida state director Brad Ashwell issued the following statement in response to Judge Eleni Derke’s appointment to the Duval County Canvassing Board. Judge Derke replaces Judge Shore, who resigned amid allegations of improper political donations:
“Now, more than ever, it’s imperative for Duval County’s Canvassing Board to preside in a manner that’s transparent, fair, and instills confidence in the voting procedures. So far, the board’s secretive process has defied the state’s sunshine law, forbidding the public from monitoring their work, which is especially problematic given Judge Shore’s failure to comply with rules of impartiality.
“To regain the public’s trust, the Canvassing Board must re-examine every ballot that Judge Shore played a part in discarding. The board must also allow reporters with recording devices in the canvassing room, as they are in every other county in Florida. The picture and audio quality of their meetings for virtual participants is inadequate and does not ensure that the public is able to view and assess the process of canvassing ballots.
“As record-numbers of Duval County residents return their vote-by-mail ballots, the Canvassing Board has an outsized role in officiating the process and must show impartiality at all times. Our democracy depends on it.”