Black man arrested on $100K bond for voting, and Texas GOP advances bill making it harder to vote

“The arrest and prosecution of Mr. Rogers should alarm all Texans,” said Andre Segura, legal director of the ACLU of Texas. “He waited in line for over six hours to vote to fulfill what he believed to be his civic duty, and is now locked up on a bail amount that most people could not afford.

“He faces potentially decades in jail. Our laws should not intimidate people from voting by increasing the risk of prosecution for, at worst, innocent mistakes. We will continue to fight for justice for Mr. Rogers and will push back against efforts to further restrict voting rights.”

The ACLU of Texas and attorney Nicole DeBorde Hochglaube are representing Rogers, who was released from jail after the nonprofit Bail Project posted his bail. “His story is infuriating — and reveals what’s at stake as Texas lawmakers work to suppress voting rights and enrich the cash bail industry,” the ACLU of Texas said in a tweet on Saturday announcing Rogers’ release.

xBREAKING: Hervis Rogers, who is accused of voting while on parole, was just released from jail on $100,000 bail.His story is infuriating — and reveals what’s at stake as Texas lawmakers work to suppress voting rights and enrich the cash bail industry.— ACLU of Texas (@ACLUTx) July 10, 2021

The organization has fiercely fought restrictive voting rights bills, including legislation proposed during a special legislative session on Thursday. Senate Bill 1, and the House’s version, Bill 3, would require photo IDs for casting absentee ballots, criminalize voting violations, ban drive-thru, and enable partisan poll watchers, and both bills were the subject of House and Senate committee hearings this weekend. Even though Republicans dropped provisions to make it less difficult for judges to overturn elections and cut morning voting hours on Sunday, many see the proposed laws as reincarnations of a disastrous voting rights bill Texas House Democrats staged a walkout to prevent Republicans from reaching the quorum needed to pass. 

Hundreds of people waited in line for hours to protest them, KXAN reported. “The House’s registration figures showed 484 members of the public had come to the Capitol to register a position on the chamber’s bill, with 407 marking themselves as opposed to the legislation, 65 in support and 12 as neutral,” Texas Tribune writer Alexa Ura wrote. House proceedings on the proposed legislation, however, didn’t allow many Texans to voice their concerns with the bill. After Democrats questioned the bill’s author, Rep. Andrew Murr, for more than four hours, the proposed legislation passed out of committee on party lines, Rep. John Bucy III tweeted on Sunday. The House will reconvene at 10 a.m. Tuesday in Texas.

xHouse committee began discussion on its voting bill, House Bill 3, around 5:30pm. We are still on questions from cmte members to bill author Andrew Murr.There are 295 people signed up to testify on the bill — many of whom arrived at the Capitol nearly 12 hours ago. #txlege— Alexa Ura (@alexazura) July 11, 2021

“In the Senate committee considering the legislation, the hearing on the bill moved at a quicker pace, but scores of Texans were still waiting well past midnight to make their case to the committee,” Ura wrote.

xAfter 16 hours, I testified against anti-voter Senate Bill 1. As an advocate for the #youthvote, we know this bill does nothing to aid in our work to empower a new generation of voters. Texans don’t support these intentional barriers to the ballot, we support the freedom to vote.— Charlie Bonner (@CharlieKBonner) July 11, 2021

Former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, who has been urging Democrats to “hold the line” to oppose restrictive voting rights legislation, spoke out against Senate Bill 1 at the Senate Committee on State Affairs on Saturday. “I mean some of you are akin to the arsonist who wants to light the fire and then get credit for trying to put it out because you say ‘look there may not be a statistically meaningful level of voter fraud, but my constituents are worried about it,’” O’Rourke said. “Well why are they worried about it? It’s cuz you keep talking about a problem that doesn’t exist and trying to apply a solution that is in search of a real problem.

”I mean if you’re looking for something, more than 700 of our fellow Texans died because we couldn’t keep the power on in February. Let’s fix the electricity grid.”

During testimony protesting Senate Bill 1, Kyle Huang, a 17-year-old San Antonio student, gave an example of a scenario that could lead to criminal charges under the proposed legislation. “I just graduated high school and I find myself here today, defending the right to vote, a right that I myself cannot yet exercise, but a right that is under attack,” Huang said. “When I phone-banked last year, I spoke with many senior citizens who relied on mail-in voting because of a lack of access to transportation and technology. I remember talking to an elderly man who did not have internet access, and he explained that he got a mail-in ballot application because the county sent him one.” The county official who sent the application could be prosecuted under Senate Bill 1, and that bill was just one of the items Gov. Greg Abbott forced legislators to consider in the special section. 

View social media posts on other items on the governor’s agenda below:

xIn Texas, more than 60% of people in jails are awaiting trial or sentencing, costing taxpayers $2.4 million a day.Instead of improving this wasteful system, politicians are starting the weekend hearing anti-bail reform bills #HB2 and #SB6.— ACLU of Texas (@ACLUTx) July 10, 2021

xNew bill that would forcibly detransition trans teens and bar them from access to lifesaving medical care has been introduced in Texas as it begins its special session.They’re going after trans kids. Again.— Erin, boycotting Arkansas businesses (@ErinInTheMorn) July 9, 2021

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