A Texas woman was sentenced to five years in prison for voter fraud in the 2016 election, according to the Washington Post.
Crystal Mason was in prison for three years after being convicted of tax fraud in 2011. The 43-year-old was on supervised release when voted in the 2016 presidential election in Tarrant County. In the state of Texas, convicted felons cannot vote until the completion of their sentence and the period of supervised release. Mason said she was unaware that she was ineligible to vote due to her record.
She asserts that no one overseeing her case ever mentioned her inability to vote. On the day she cast her ballot an election worker helped her after they were unable to find her name on the voter roll. Mason told the judge because of this she missed the portion of the provisional ballot that asks the voter to verify if they are a felon. There is a small section at the top of the ballot that asks if the voter is a felon, has completed their sentence including parole and supervised release.
Mason told the judge that she regretted committing the tax fraud crime and she was happy being home to see her children. “I would never do that again. I was happy enough to come home and see my daughter graduate. My son is about to graduate.” She continued on expressing that she wouldn’t vote had she known it was not allowed. “Why would I jeopardize that? Not to vote …. I didn’t even want to go vote.”
Despite her testimony, the judge handed down the harsh sentencing for voter fraud. Texas is taking significant measures to secure its elections. In 2017, a Mexican woman with a green card was sentenced to eight years in prison for claiming to be a U.S. citizen on her ballot. Rosa Maria Ortega, like Mason, says she was confused by the difference in language. Both women voted in Tarrant County.
Mason’s lawyer, J. Warren St. John has filed an appeal hoping she can be released on bond while the matter is sorted out.