Media outlets from coast to coast trumpeted the tenacity of one man for waiting almost seven hours at the end of a massively long line to vote on Super Tuesday at a Texas Southern University polling place — and he didn't cast his ballot until 1:30 a.m. Wednesday.
"I wanted to get my vote in to voice my opinion," Hervis Rogers told KTRK-TV. "I wasn't going to let anything stop me, so I waited it out."
He added that it seemed as though the long line "was set up for me to walk away." But Rogers said he told himself, "No, don't do that." Rogers also said "every vote counts" and that he'd endure it all over again if necessary.
Reports: #HervisRogers the last to vote at #Texas polling site after waiting nearly 7 hours https://t.co/dyVh1RDVaP— Michelle Marsh (@Michelle Marsh)1583337791.0
CNN said Rogers was lauded on social media for his commitment to the democratic process: "I don't know many people who would wait more than an hour or two," one user wrote, according to the cable network. "Great respect."
Another wrote that "Hervis Rogers is my hero. This is a guy who remembered what it took for black Americans to gain the right to vote. I applaud him," CNN said.
The NAACP tweeted that "Texas closed hundreds of polling places, and we didn't have the Voting Rights Act to stop it. No one should have to wait this long to participate in democracy! Thank you Hervis Rogers for your commitment to being counted!"
But according to a report by the Texan, records show Rogers isn't eligible to vote under state law.
The outlet indicated that Texas Department of Public Safety records show Rogers is on parole for a 1995 second-degree felony offense conviction for burglary — and that under Texas Election Law (Sec. 11.002), a convicted felon can't vote until the individual's sentence has been "fully discharged ... including any term of incarceration, parole, or supervision, or completed a period of probation ordered by any court."
The Texan reported that Rogers' parole doesn't end until June 13, 2020 — and yet he had a Harris County voter registration card when he arrived at the polling location Tuesday.
The outlet said that while the Harris County Clerk's office administers elections, the office of Ann Harris Bennett (D) — the county's Tax Assessor-Collector & Voter Registrar — is responsible for verification of eligible voter registrations.
What did the county Voter Registrar have to say?
The Harris County Voter Registrar's office on Friday told TheBlaze that "Rogers registered to vote in 2016 under another administration" and that an "office investigation" found exactly what the Texan found: Rogers "is not eligible to register to vote until his parole expires on June 13, 2020."
The Voter Registrar's office added to TheBlaze that "a challenge notification will be issued to Rogers requiring him to submit evidence of eligibility within 30 days. The registration will be cancelled if Rogers does not supply such evidence within that 30-day period."
Republican state Sen. Paul Bettencourt — also former county Tax Assessor-Collector & Voter Registrar — told the Texan that verifying registrations requires resources and personnel to access data in the Justice Management System.
"You have to allocate resources for this; you have to get this right," he added to the outlet.
'Attack on the voting rights of American citizens'
Meanwhile, some notable left-wing names called Rogers' lengthy wait in line at the polls a Republican attempt at voter suppression.
A seven-hour wait to vote is a poll tax. We need to restore the Voting Rights Act and stop Republican elected off… https://t.co/scOOcYP68D— Hillary Clinton (@Hillary Clinton)1583338581.0
"A seven-hour wait to vote is a poll tax," Hillary Clinton tweeted. "We need to restore the Voting Rights Act and stop Republican elected officials from shutting down polling sites."
This is unacceptable—and a result of continued GOP attacks on the voting rights of American citizens The House has… https://t.co/t9Aak7OQlW— Chuck Schumer (@Chuck Schumer)1583337403.0
"This is unacceptable — and a result of continued GOP attacks on the voting rights of American citizens," Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-NY, tweeted.
This story has been updated.