Harris County voter fraud indictment now front and center in Washington

Tom Abrahams Image
Wednesday, July 14, 2021
Harris County voter fraud indictment now front and center
A man has been charged for allegedly voting illegally after waiting for more than six hours to cast his vote. It's now the center of a big debate in Texas.

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) -- A Harris County man's indictment involving a voting offense is becoming a focal point in the Texas Legislature.

Hervis Rogers has been charged for allegedly voting illegally after waiting for more than six hours to cast his vote in March 2020.

The state of Texas indicted him in Montgomery County last week and set a $100,000 bond contending his criminal past precluded him from voting. His attorney, Nicole Deborde Hochglaube, said she's representing him pro bono after the American Civil Liberties Union alerted her to the case.

"I have to wonder at the timing of these charges," she said. "Just moments before, less than 24 hours before the special session was scheduled to begin, this charge was brought against Mr. Rogers."

Rogers' case has been gaining a lot of attention because it fits right into the debate in Austin and in Washington. Texas Rep. Jarvis Johnson is among the Democratic legislators who fled the state rather than to vote on the Republican-initiated voter integrity bill in the House and Senate.

READ ALSO: Texas House Republicans vote to track down absent Democrats and arrest them

He was among the first to speak up in support of Rogers.

"I hope the cases will be dropped against Hervis Rogers," said Johnson. "The fact that the attorney general arrested Hervis Rogers a year and a few weeks after he cast his ballot says something to me."

The Attorney General's office did not respond to ABC13's call or email Tuesday about its prosecution, but Eyewitness News has data provided by the office from earlier this year.

Between 2005 and 2020, there were a total of 516 prosecutions for illegal voting or voter fraud. There were 171 of them since 2017 - that's out of more than 27 million votes cast between January 2017 and March 2020.

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick told ABC13 Monday the bills are not suppressive.

WATCH: TX Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick: 'When you get elected, you show up'

"It's a good bill," said Patrick of the controversial voting bill. "There's no reason for the Democrats to not want to support it. If they want to vote against it, that's fine, but to walk out and go to Washington, D.C. .... If that's what they want to do instead of doing their job here, I don't think the voters of Texas are going to reward them in November 2022."

He said they make sure that voters' ballots are secure and that the count is accurate and rules are consistent.

"Imagine if you had all 254 counties deciding their own rules on elections," Patrick said. "It would be chaos, and the other parts of the bill are solidly supported by Republicans and Democrats and Independent."

Gov. Greg Abbott tweeted Tuesday that Democrats are spreading misinformation, saying Texas expanded early voting and the integrity bills only increase it.

However, the bills would eliminate 24-hour and drive-thru voting, which are two new measures enacted by then-Harris County Clerk Chris Hollins, who said the purpose was to make voting more accessible.

He said the attacks are disingenuous.

"When we see things in Austin trying to limit the voting rights of people in Harris County, trying to take away conveniences like drive-thru voting or extended hours that helped so many people, that's a real travesty," said Hollins.

Late Tuesday, NAACP Houston President James Dixon announced a march in Austin slated for Thursday to protest the legislation currently in limbo, but on everyone's minds.

"Texas is heading toward a dangerous tipping point. We are indeed a state and a nation in crisis," Dixon said. "Our Democracy is at stake. Our freedom is at stake. The sacred right to vote is under attack."

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