A Texas woman just got sentenced to five years behind bars simply for not being hip to a voting law! Back in November 2016, 43-year-old Crystal Mason had just recently been released from prison for tax fraud. Her mother had encouraged her to vote in the 2016 presidential election and eventually she obliged!
Little did Mason know, it’s illegal for a felon to cast a vote and was indicted on a charge of illegal voting in Tarrant County, Tex., last year. Officials say that this law is set in place to crack down on voter fraud even though “the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit found only two convictions for in-person voter fraud out of 20 million ballots cast in the years before the 2011 passage of the law,” according to @WashingtonPost.
This past Thursday, Mason was found guilty by State District Judge Ruben Gonzalez even though she told prosecutors that she had no knowledge of the voting law. “You think I would jeopardize my freedom? You honestly think I would ever want to leave my babies again? That was the hardest thing in my life to deal with. Who would — as a mother, as a provider — leave their kids over voting?” Mason tells the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
Perhaps the most ridiculous part of this story is that Mason’s vote wasn’t even counted. @WashingtonPost reports that when she arrived at her designated polling place, Mason could not find her name on the voter roll, so a worker gave her a provisional ballot to fill out which allows a person to cast a vote as long as they sign an affidavit stating that they are eligible to vote.
All provisional ballots are subject to review which is what triggered an investigation into Mason in the first place.
Via Washington Post:
“Small print at the top asks the voter to certify that if she is a felon, she has fully completed her sentence, including supervision or parole of any kind. Mason tried to explain to the judge that, since an election worker was helping her, she was not reading carefully, which, St. John said, failed to sway him.”
TSR STAFF: Talia O. @theclosetratchet on IG