One last election

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 6, 2006

The Selma Times-Journal

Johnny Jones hasn’t had time to reflect on today’s general election being his last to supervise.

“I haven’t had time to feel anything,” said the outgoing Dallas County Probate Judge on Monday. “I don’t sleep four nights before the election and I don’t sleep after the election because I’m so wired. I’ll be happy for someone to take on this little chore.”

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Seated behind a cluttered desk covered with e-mail printouts, newspapers, books and pink “Important Message” slips, Jones answered voters’ questions on Monday by phone and impromptu walk-in appointments.

One woman entered Jones’ office and exclaimed, “Election Day is tomorrow! I’m depressed! Don’t leave me! I don’t want anyone to succeed you!” Jones gave her a consoling hug.

Shortly after Probate Clerk Renee Patton joked, “I ought to kick you for leaving us.”

Jones replied, “You see, no respect.”

Following another sleepless night, Jones said he would be in his office at 6:15 this morning, making sure all 30 polling location open at 7 a.m. sharp. Then “about all we can do is wait for the phone to ring,” he said, adding all election results are usually in the probate office between 10 and 11:30 p.m.

“General elections are very active and not as difficult to administer as a primary. Hopefully everything runs smoothly (today). We always hope that,” Jones said.

Today’s weather forecast – a chance of showers – could put a damper on today’s election, Jones said. Expecting the voter turnout to “run between 12,000 and 15,000,” Jones hopes 14,000 to 18,000 voters cast their ballots today – a strong showing for Dallas County, he said.

After the results are tallied, Jones will return to his daily duties and serve the remainder of his 30-year elected tenure, which ends Jan. 15.

“I don’t think it’s really hit me yet. Thirty years is a long time and I think there are some people ready to see me go,” Jones said chuckling.

On the contrary, says probate office volunteer Edna Sims of Jones’ comment.

“You won’t find another one like him,” she said. “We’re gonna really, really miss him very, very much.”