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Voter fraud charges against Hervis Rogers, who gained widespread attention for waiting hours in line to vote at a Houston polling place during the March 2020 presidential election, have been dismissed.
Attorney General Ken Paxton ordered Rogers’ arrest in July 2021 on charges that he voted while on parole. Over a year later, after the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals reiterated that the attorney general does not have the ability to unilaterally prosecute election crimes, a district judge has dropped the two counts of illegal voting against Rogers.
“I am grateful that justice has been served,” Rogers said in a statement.
After serving a burglary conviction in 1995, Rogers had been out on parole since 2004. His parole expired in June 2020. In Texas, knowingly voting while on parole or probation is a second-degree felony that can result in for up to 20 years in prison. But Rogers said he was unaware of his ineligibility, and advocates pointed to the fact that he had waited six hours to vote — while working two jobs, including one that starts at 6 p.m. 6 in the morning – as proof of this.
Rogers is over 60 years old, so a conviction could have resulted in the equivalent of a life sentence.
“It’s been horrible to go through this and I’m so glad my case is over. I look forward to getting back to my life,” he added in the statement.
Over the past few years, Paxton’s office has made prosecuting voter fraud a central focus, even though there is no evidence of widespread fraud in Texas. A 2021 analysis by the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas also shows that over 70% of voter fraud cases brought by his office targeted black and Latino people, especially women.
Paxton’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The ACLU of Texas also worked on Rogers’ case.
“We were frankly relieved and so happy that Mr. Rogers was able to put this traumatic ordeal behind him,” said Tommy Buser-Clancy, a senior attorney for the ACLU of Texas.
The state Legislature passed a bill in 2007 that would have required the Department of Criminal Justice to notify people who used to be in its custody of their voting rights, but then-Gov. Rick Perry vetoed it.
“He should never have been prosecuted in the first place,” Buser-Clancy said of Rogers.
Disclosure: The ACLU of Texas has been a financial supporter of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors. Financial supporters play no role in Tribunen’s journalism. Find a complete list of them here.