Texas woman gets jail time for voting despite ineligibility

Crystal Mason

Crystal Mason, 43, was sentenced to five years by a judge on Wednesday for voting illegally in the 2016 presidential election.

Mason later divorced her husband, who received a similar sentence after he also pleaded guilty.

"I was happy enough to come home and see my daughter graduate", she continued.

She went on to admit the mistakes she did make. She told the newspaper a year ago following her indictment that she had gone to vote at her mother's encouragement and wasn't told when released from federal prison that she could not cast a ballot.

Mason added that she did not carefully read the form because an election official was helping her. "Why would she risk going back to prison for something that is not going to change her life?"

Texas law states it is illegal for a felon to vote while serving their sentence, including while on parole. "My son is about to graduate", she told the prosecutor in court. 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.

And her attorney, J. Warren St. John, said it's "amazing" the government would suggest she is fabricating a story about voting. "I would never do that again", she said of her prior conviction for tax fraud.

To register to vote in Texas, a person must be 18 and a USA citizen and can not be a convicted felon or have been declared mentally incapacitated by a court. Why would I jeopardize that? As part of her plea agreement, she was ordered to pay $4.2 million in restitution, according to court documents. Tarrant County leans Republican.

According to The New York Daily News, Mason was urged by her mother to cast her vote in the 2016 presidential election. 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.

"It's the rare exception when a corrections system informs people about their right to vote", Mauer said.

Mason is now out of jail on an appellate bond that is pending outcome of an appeal, says St. John.

Mason's illegal voting case was prosecuted in Tarrant County, the same place where a Mexican national last year was sentenced to eight years in prison over illegal voting.

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