Hervis Rogers was celebrated by the media in March 2020 for being the last man to vote in the hotly contested Democratic presidential primary, having waited six hours to cast his ballot.
Billed as resilient and being fully committed to doing his civic duty, some 16 months later, Rogers was arrested for casting that Super Tuesday ballot.
On Friday, he was arrested in Houston on two counts of illegal voting, according to the Associated Press. A second-degree felony, the charges carry a possible sentence of two to 20 years in prison. Roger’s bail was set at $100,000.
The AP acknowledged that Rogers “became an overnight face of Texas’ battle over voting access when he emerged from a polling center at a historically Black college around 1:30 a.m,” after reporting that he was not eligible to vote under Texas law because he was on parole for a felony burglary conviction.
Claiming ignorance of the law, ACLU of Texas attorney Andre Segura, who represents Rogers, said his client did not know he was ineligible to vote.
What’s more, he said Rogers should escape penalty.
“Mr. Rogers made headlines after waiting hours for what he thought was his civic duty, and was very proud of that,” Segura said. “We shouldn’t be prosecuting people for innocent mistakes.”
Here’s how Houston Public Media portrayed the feat of casting an illegal vote the day after the March 2020 election:
He gained national attention through his tenacity at a local polling place, refusing to leave even after others might have: Hervis Rogers was the last man to vote at his Texas Southern University polling place early Wednesday morning, and possibly the last person to cast a ballot in the State of Texas when he did so around 1 a.m.
Rogers, who works two jobs, arrived at the polls just before 7 p.m., and his roughly six-hour wait was tough, he said. But that didn’t stop him.
“It is insane, but it’s worth it,” Rogers said while waiting in line. “I mean, I wouldn’t feel right if I didn’t vote. I feel like it’s— I voice my opinion, but it don’t feel right if I don’t vote. So I said, ‘I’m going to take a stand and vote. It might make a difference.’”
Media interest in Rogers’s vote was more about casting a spotlight on long lines at polling places, with Houston election officials blaming the local Republican Party, the news agency said. At the same time, GOP leaders accused the county of trying to shift the blame after disregarding warnings about voter turnout potentially being high.
Failed 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton got in on the blame game, responding to a tweet about Rogers from CNN senior national correspondent Ed Lavandera to take a cheap shot at Republicans.
A seven-hour wait to vote is a poll tax.
We need to restore the Voting Rights Act and stop Republican elected officials from shutting down polling sites. https://t.co/qbGZRUctJM
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) March 4, 2020
Nonetheless, the AP cited court records to report that Rogers “is being prosecuted by the office of Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who has zealously pursued election fraud cases and last year took a failed attempt to overturn President Joe Biden’s victory to the U.S. Supreme Court.”
Shouldn’t all election fraud cases be pursued “zealously?”
Not that Paxton is backing down. Taking to Twitter, the attorney general tweeted, “I prosecute voter fraud everywhere we find it!”
Hervis is a felon rightly barred from voting under TX law. This liberal NPR article even says so, but buries it: “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! https://t.co/cXTjGIXfe1
— Attorney General Ken Paxton (@KenPaxtonTX) July 9, 2021
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