Rep. Vernon Jones, D-Lithonia, has drafted his own version of Senate Bill 7 that limits the powers of DeKalb’s ethics board.
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Under fire for missed votes, Rep. Vernon Jones explains himself

State Rep. Vernon Jones says there is a reason why he missed 59 votes on April 2, the last day of the 2019 session.

Those skipped votes largely contributed to him ending up at the top of the list after a website reviewed the voting tallies of Georgia House members.

Jones, D-Lithonia, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he had a family emergency that caused him to leave the state capitol twice on Sine Die, which is usually the busiest day of session. While he was dealing with that issue off-site, he missed most of the votes taken.

“I take my legislative duties seriously, and I take family emergencies more seriously,” Jones said.

An AJC analysis of his voting record this year showed that Jones missed 59 of 76 votes on Sine Die and another 18 on other days for a total of 77 skipped votes.

The website All on Georgia reported that Jones was reported as “not voting” a total of 98 times this session. Votes lawmakers missed because of an excused absence were not included in the ranking.

The state representative with the second highest number of skipped votes had 56. Because Jones’ tally of 98 was such an outlier, the All on Georgia article was shared widely on social media and led to an 11 Alive news report plus criticism from Jones’ constituents.

Jones said he won’t apologize for focusing on family during the last day of session, even if it meant missing dozens of votes. 

“Unfortunately, I was more concerned about the emergency and at that point in time you do what you have to do,” he said. “That was important, and I don’t regret it at all.”

For a look at Jones’ overall voting record, including votes taken and bills sponsored this year, visit the Georgia Legislative Navigator.

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