This past November, Crystal Mason, a 43-year-old woman from Texas, was on supervised release for a 2011 conviction for tax fraud. But after she illegally voted in the 2016 presidential election, she was sentenced to another five years in prison.
According to the Dallas Morning News, convicted felons in Texas can’t vote unless they’ve completed their full sentence, which includes supervised release. When Mason went to vote, her name was not on the list of registered voters, which caused an election judge to issue her a provisional ballot. However, she also had to sign an affidavit, which listed requirements for voting, including that felons must serve full sentences before casting a ballot.
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When asked why she didn’t read the affidavit carefully, the Fort-Worth Star Telegram reported that Mason said an election official was helping her with the form. She also said “she was never told by the federal court, her supervision officer, the election workers or U.S. District Judge John McBryde, the sentencing judge in her fraud case, that she would not be able to vote in elections until she finished serving her sentence, supervised release included.”
Mason, who previously served almost three years in prison, told the judge assessing her sentence that she would not have voluntarily risked her freedom in order to vote. “I was happy enough to come home and see my daughter graduate,” she said. “My son is about to graduate. Why would I jeopardize that? Not to vote. … I didn’t even want to go vote.”
Her defense attorney, J. Warren St. John, told the court, “I find it amazing that the government feels she made this up.She was never told that she couldn’t vote, and she voted in good faith. Why would she risk going back to prison for something that is not going to change her life?”
Mason was sentenced on Wednesday and an appeal has been filed.