Charges against a Houston man accused of illegally voting are dropped
Hervis Rogers, whose determination to vote in 2020 garnered national headlines, was arrested and charged with a felony after the Texas Attorney General’s office argued Rogers was prohibited from casting a ballot because he was on parole.
A Houston man who was charged with a felony for allegedly voting illegally during the 2020 primary elections has had the charges against him dropped.
Hervis Rogers was one of the last – if not the last – Texan to vote in March 2020 after he waited more than six hours to cast his ballot at a Texas Southern University polling place. His determination made him a mini celebrity on social media after his feat gained national attention, Houston Public Media reported that year.
A year later Rogers was arrested and charged with a felony after the Texas Attorney General’s office argued Rogers was prohibited from casting a ballot because he was on parole. Rogers was sentenced to 25 years in prison in 1995 for burglary and intent to commit theft. He was released on parole in May 2004, and his parole was set to end in June 2020, HPM reported.
The charges were dropped after the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ruled earlier this year that Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton cannot unilaterally prosecute alleged election crimes.
"I am thankful that justice has been done. It has been horrible to go through this, and I am so glad my case is over,” Rogers said in a statement provided by his legal team. “I look forward to being able to get back to my life.”
The dismissal was first reported by the Houston Chronicle Friday morning.
Under Texas law a person who was convicted of a felony can only register to vote once he or she “successfully completed his or her punishment, including any term of incarceration, parole, supervision, period of probation, or has been pardoned,” according to the Texas Secretary of State’s office.
Nicole DeBorde Hochglaube, a defense attorney with the ACLU of Texas who was part of Rogers’ legal team, told The Texas Newsroom that Rogers was under the impression he could vote because he received voter registration and other election-related materials in the mail.
“He did believe that he had the right to vote for a variety of reasons,” she told The Texas Newsroom. “[Parolees] get correspondence from the government, they get a voter registration card, and I think many people assume if the state is providing you this material that it has been approved by someone.”
DeBorde Hochglaube said Rogers thought he was performing his civic duty.
“They receive information on what they think is how to be a good person in the community. And he thought he was being a good person in the community by participating,” she said.
DeBorde Hochglaube added that more Texans could see similar relief after the ruling against Paxton’s office.
“I would assume that people who have been convicted under this way of prosecuting cases will want to go back to the courts and have their records potentially cleared, and the way they would do that is through post-conviction relief,” she said. “It could be hundreds (of people).”
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