Black Man Faces 25 Years in Prison for Voting in Texas While On Parole

A 62-year-old man, Hervis Rogers, faces up to 25 years in prison for voting while still on parole for two counts of felony. Rogers is being charged for illegal voting even though he waited six hours online to vote during the 2020 Democratic presidential primary elections in Texas. Under Texan law, it is illegal for a man convicted of a felony to vote while still on parole or probation until he has completed his sentence.

In the case of Rogers, he was due to complete his sentence in July 2020 but voted in March. He is currently being held in jail after his bond was set at $100,000. He voted in Harris County where he became an overnight media sensation for waiting six hours on the queue before he could vote, but he is being held in Montgomery County.

“I wanted to get my vote in, voice my opinion,” Rogers said back then after eventually casting his vote. “I wasn’t going to let anything stop me, so I waited it out.”

Rogers said he didn’t know that he was ineligible to vote while out on parole. He was convicted for burglary and intent to commit theft in 1995. His parole began in 2004 and ended in 2020. He is represented by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) which claims that setting Roger’s bail at $100,000 for an innocent infraction was unfair and laughable.

“The arrest and prosecution of Mr. Rogers should alarm all Texans,” said Andre Segura, the legal director of the Texas ACLU. “He waited in line for over six hours to vote to fulfill what he believed to be his civic duty and is now locked up on a bail amount that most people could not afford. He faces potentially decades in jail. Our laws should not intimidate people from voting by increasing the risk of prosecution for, at worst, innocent mistakes.”

The Attorney General of Texas, Ken Paxton, a Republican who unsuccessfully challenged former President Donald Trump’s election loss, is prosecuting Rogers for election fraud.

“Hervis is a felon rightly barred from voting under TX law,” Paxton tweeted on Friday. “Rogers voted before his parole was scheduled to end, he was likely ineligible to cast a ballot on Election Day. I prosecute voter fraud everywhere we find it!”

The Brennan Center for Justice revealed that voter fraud is very rare and often a mistake. The law and policy institute said it is almost unheard of for anyone to engage in voter impersonation, and cases, where election frauds are committed, are often innocent mistakes that voters or administrators made without knowing it.