Crystal Mason, Texas Woman Sentenced to Five Years for Trying to Vote Gets New Appeal

Crystal Mason is currently serving a five-year sentence for illegally voting. She claims she did not know she was unable to vote in the 2016 election. Mason is overjoyed because she has the chance to fight for her innocence, attorney Allison Grinter said in light of the appeal.

What We Know:

  • The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals will review Mason’s illegal voting conviction. She is currently facing a five-year sentence after casting a provisional ballot while she was on supervised release for tax fraud. Mason discovered her name was not on the voter roll. A poll worker advised her to take the other option and submit her vote. However, local officials deemed her ineligible to vote when she was sentenced in 2011, so her poll was not accepted.
  • Tarrant County prosecutors have charged her with knowingly and unlawfully voting. Mason has affirmed throughout the case she did not know about the Texas law and wouldn’t have willingly risked her freedom.
  • The state’s ballot asks voters to confirm if they have completed any felony sentences and supervisions. Mason signed the affidavit with this certification, according to a trial court judge. Therefore, she is guilty of committing the second-degree state felony. She denies reading those words, claiming she did not look at that side of the paper.
  • Last year, a Fort Worth appeals court upheld the charge. They claimed that the fact she was unaware she could not vote was irrelevant to the prosecution.
  • Mason’s case garnered national attention in 2018. People support Mason because they feel the sentence is severe, especially if she was unconscious of the law. Many see her arrest as an effort to suppress Black votes. They feel she is a victim of the GOP’s “war on voter fraud,” which NBC News states only rarely happens in elections.

Mason’s representation includes members of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Texas Civil Rights Project. Grinter says the team will also argue that Mason is not guilty because her provisional ballot went uncounted.

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