An elderly Texas man has been arrested for casting his vote while on parole during last year’s Democratic primary elections. Hervis Rogers, 62, was arrested on Wednesday and is facing two counts of illegal voting. The charges carry a minimum sentence of two years and up to 20 years in prison as it is considered a second-degree felony in the state of Texas.

Under Texas law, a felon who “knowingly” votes while serving a sentence, including parole, is criminally liable. However, Rogers’s lawyers as well as civil rights advocates argue that he was not aware of such a law that made him ineligible to vote.

According to the Texas Tribune, Rogers arrest orders came from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton who defended the charges on Twitter and said: “Hervis is a felon rightly barred from voting under TX law. I prosecute voter fraud everywhere we find it!”

But citing how Rogers was willing to stand in line and wait for six hours to vote and allowed himself to be interviewed by the media only proves the defense’s argument that Rogers did not knowingly commit fraud. Prosecutors also pointed out that he voted illegally in the 2018 midterm elections.

It was during the last hours at the Texas Southern University polling center when Rogers caught the attention of a CNN news crew. Seeing that he had been waiting for six hours and was the last to cast his ballot, Rogers made waves in both local and social media after emerging from the polling center at 1:30am.

Critics believe Paxton had intentions of honing in on a Black voter in an effort to discourage other Texans of color from wanting to vote for fear of risking arrest because they are not sure of their eligibility. It is a recorded fact that Texas has a disproportionate ratio of colored felons and Republican lawmakers are being blamed for refusing to reform its voter registration system.

Chris Hollins, a former elections clerk in Harris county claims: “They want a bunch of people to be in a state of confusion about their eligibility.”

“And if you’re in that state of confusion, they want you to stay home,” he added.

Rogers was a few months shy from serving his full parole after getting convicted in 1995 for felony burglary. He was sentenced to 25 years in prison but was released on parole in May 2004. His parole was scheduled to end on June 13, 2020, thereby making him ineligible to cast his ballot in the March 2020 presidential primary. More than a year later after serving his sentence, Rogers finds himself back in jail.

Andre Segura, the legal director for the ACLU of Texas who is also part of the legal team representing him, said: “He is really devastated. He does not want to go back to jail.”

Rogers is currently being held in Montgomery County. His bail was set at $100,000.

US presidential primary
Signs used for polling stations are seen in a bin at the El Paso County Courthouse during the presidential primary in El Paso, Texas on Super Tuesday, March 3, 2020. - Fourteen states and American Samoa are holding presidential primary elections, with over 1400 delegates at stake. Americans vote Tuesday in primaries that play a major role in who will challenge Donald Trump for the presidency, a day after key endorsements dramatically boosted Joe Biden's hopes against surging leftist Bernie Sanders. The backing of Biden by three of his ex-rivals marked an unprecedented turn in a fractured, often bitter campaign. Photo by Paul Ratje/AFP via Getty Images

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