Texas man faces 40 years in prison for voting on parole

In a case of calculated political savagery, the state of Texas arrested a 62-year-old African American for allegedly voting illegally last year. Gov. Greg Abbott’s Republican administration is launching charges that could put Hervis Earl Rogers in jail for the rest of his life. Rogers was held on $ 100,000 bail for three days, until the non-profit organization Bail Project posted bail and obtained his release.

State Attorney General Ken Paxton ordered Rogers’ arrest on Wednesday and charged him with two counts of illegal voting, for voting in the March 2020 Democratic primaries and those in the general election of 2018, while still on parole after a burglary conviction in 1995. Each count carries a prison sentence of up to 20 years, and as a “repeat offender,” Rogers could risk an even longer prison sentence.

Last year, the media celebrated Rogers for his determination to vote in the Democratic presidential primary, when he stood in line for seven hours at a Houston polling station at Texas Southern University. He gave interviews to CNN and a local television station, explaining that he had considered giving up and returning home, but stayed to fulfill his civic duty.

Hervis Rogers (Photo: Montgomery County)

In what has been described as “forum shopping,” the state attorney general brought charges against Rogers not in Harris County, where he lives and votes, but in neighboring Montgomery County, which is. 90 percent white. Harris County, which includes Houston, is predominantly non-white.

According to his attorneys at the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, Rogers served jail time for burglary, was paroled in 2004, worked and raised a family until his parole (very long in Texas barbaric justice system) be lifted in June 2020.

There is no indication that Rogers had any idea he was not allowed to vote, as indicated by his conversations with reporters when he was the “last man in the line” at the polls in March 2020. La Texas law requires the parolee to illegally vote “knowingly,” which his lawyers say means he should not have been charged.

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“Rogers’ arrest and charge should alarm all Texans,” Andre Segura, chief legal officer for the Texas ACLU, said in a statement. “He stood in line for over six hours to vote, doing what he believed was his civic duty, and he’s now locked up on a bond most people couldn’t afford. He risks decades in prison. Our laws should not intimidate people and prevent them from voting by increasing the risk of prosecution for what are, at worst, innocent mistakes ”.


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