Texas Court of Appeals upholds 5-year prison sentence for woman who voted illegally
Despite the fact that the Texas Court of Appeal found that the woman didn’t really know that she had been deprived of the right to vote in the elections, she was still considered guilty and would serve her 5-year sentence.
Returning to the origins of this controversial trial, Crystal Mason was released on parole for another fraud offense in 2016. And in her documents did not mean anywhere that she was forbidden to vote in elections.
Therefore, when the time came to cast vote into the urn, she was told that her name was not on the lists and she could not vote. In 2017, Mason was taken into custody.
At a trial in 2018, probation officials testified that the defendant was not informed of her status.
“Contrary to Mason’s assertion, the fact that she did not know she was legally ineligible to vote was irrelevant to her prosecution,” Justice Wade Birdwell wrote for a three-judge panel on Texas’ second court of appeals, reports The Guardian.
Given the two almost consecutive prison sentences of Crystal Mason, her life went in the doldrums. The only person who contained a family of seven children was exactly Mason and now, nine years behind bars have forced her children and grandchildren to turn to ordinary people for help through the GoFundMe site.
The Mason case was the first when an American was imprisoned for voting, not for not having the right to it, but for not even knowing about it.
“The decision to prosecute Mason was unusual. Since 2014, at least 12,668 people have voted using a provisional ballot in Tarrant county and 88% of them have been rejected because the voter was not eligible. Mason is the only voter who used a provisional ballot who was prosecuted for illegal voting,” reports The Guardian.
Mason's lawyers and other members of the judiciary allude to this precedent destroying what is called Democracy.
“This ruling is a severe misinterpretation of the law,” said Alison Grinter, an attorney representing Mason. “It undercuts efforts to encourage voter turnout through the Help America Vote Act and punishes ordinary voters for attempting to fulfil their civic duty in a way that is at complete odds with our democratic principles.”