Tarrant County Woman Gets 5 Years In Prison for Illegal Voting

Tarrant County Woman Gets 5 Years In Prison for Illegal Voting

Tarrant County Woman Gets 5 Years In Prison for Illegal Voting

A Texas woman was sentenced to five years in prison this week following her conviction for illegally voting in the 2016 presidential election.

Crystal Mason, 43, had been on supervised release stemming from a fraud conviction in 2011, reports Fort Worth Star-Telegram, when she and her ex-husband pleaded guilty to inflating tax refunds sent to the Internal Revenue Service.

Texas law prohibits felons from voting until they complete their full sentence, including supervised release. "She changed her life. My son is about to graduate", she told the prosecutor in court.

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Her lawyer, J. Warren St. John, was bewildered by the fact that government would think Mason was lying.

Mason explained to the Star-Telegram she had no intention to risk her freedom in order to vote.

"She specifically told the trial judge, 'If I would've known it was illegal to vote, I would've got up and left, '" St. John said. Mason said that she was not told by the federal court, her supervision officer, the election workers nor U.S. District Judge John McBryde, the sentencing judge in her tax fraud case, that she would not be able to vote in elections until she completed her sentence. She only voted that day because her mother wanted her to, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.

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According to a report released in 2016 compiled by the Sentencing Project, a criminal justice reform advocacy group, more than 6 million felons in the United States and almost 500,000 in Texas were ineligible to vote in 2016. When she went to her polling place in Tarrant County in Texas, her name wasn't on the voter roll, so someone working the polls gave her a provisional ballot. Mason, who didn't even know that she no longer had the option to vote, was treated as a second-class citizen by the law enforcers of America.

Additionally, having signed an affidavit to receive the provisional ballot, she said that she didn't even read the rules on the document closely because she was being assisted by an elected official and trusted them. But convicted felons are not allowed to vote in the state of Texas.

She went on to admit the mistakes she did make. A federal judge has twice blocked Texas' voter ID law, including a revised version previous year that was backed by the Trump administration.

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Tarrant County is the same county where a Grand Prairie mother was sentenced to eight years in prison after being convicted of illegal voting.

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