Texas Man Arrested for Voting While on Parole Amid Fight to Pass Tighter Voter Restriction Laws Across US
Several states have already enacted 22 new laws since the 2020 election that make it tougher to vote absentee or by mail.
A Houston man who was set to end parole in June 2020 has been arrested in Texas for casting a ballot months earlier on Super Tuesday in March 2020. Hervis Rogers was sentenced to 25 years in prison for burglary and intent to commit theft and was released on parole in May 2004, NPR reported. However, Texas law prevents people on parole from voting, which is what Rogers is accused of.
"Mr. Rogers is being held in jail on an extremely high bail amount that he cannot afford for what amounts to simply attempting to fulfill his civic duty. This is not justice," said ACLU of Texas legal director Andre Segura.
Rogers has now been charged for voting illegally at a time where Republicans are hoping to pass a controversial voting bill in Texas that would add a host of voting restrictions in the state. The bill includes several provisions, including a ban on drive-thru voting, new voter identification requirements in order to vote by mail and more criminal penalties for election workers who don’t follow regulations. It also gives more authority to poll watchers.
On Monday, 51 of Texas’ Democratic lawmakers left the state and travelled to Washington, D.C., in hopes of stopping the passage of the bill by the state’s Republican-controlled Legislature. The decision has the potential to stall the Legislature for weeks.
The lawmakers also hope to put pressure on Congress to pass federal voting rights protections, with bills like the For The People Act, which includes provisions on voting access, and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, which would restore parts of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The bills are currently stalled in the Senate because of Republican opposition.
Texas, as well as Georgia, Florida and Arizona, are just some of the states that have seen GOP-backed pushes for stricter voting laws in the wake of the 2020 election and the massive false claims about election fraud.
Fourteen states have already enacted 22 new laws since the 2020 election that make it tougher to vote absentee or by mail, according to the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law. Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Georgia, and Florida are just some of the states with newly passed laws.
The center also identified 61 other bills in numerous states that have made progress on the committee or legislative level that would bring about the same restrictions if passed.
In a speech on Tuesday at Philadelphia’s National Constitution Center, President Joe Biden called any lingering claims of election fraud a “big lie.”
“The 21st Century Jim Crow assault is real, it’s unrelenting, and we’re going to challenge it vigorously. While this broad assault against voting rights is not unprecedented, it is taking on new and pernicious forms,” Biden said.
“We’re facing the most significant test of our democracy since the Civil War,” Biden continued. “I’m not saying this to alarm you; I’m saying this because you should be alarmed.”
Some organizations, like the racial and social justice coalition Just Democracy, felt that Biden’s speech fell short.
“President Biden’s speech missed the more critical point today: Until Congress eliminates the filibuster, voting rights remain under attack,” Stephany Spaulding, a spokesperson for the group, told Politico. "Black and brown organizers didn’t turn out over 80 million voters to elect an organizer in chief.”
"Now, it’s time for the president and the Senate to do their jobs — use the power of their offices to end the Jim Crow filibuster and change the law to protect voting rights," Spaulding added.
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