Crystal Mason was trying to get her life back on track and become a good citizen after a felony conviction. Her mother kept urging her to do her civic duty and vote.
“My mom kept nagging, ‘Go vote, go vote, go vote, go vote’ and I was just like OK, I did what she said,” Mason said.
“I went to go vote, November 2016. And what I understood was that I could vote. So, I went to the local church, where I went before I went to prison, and I went to vote. When they looked on the roster, they realized my name wasn’t there,”
“And I was like, “Well, I’ve been living here for over 10 years.” So, when I got ready to walk away, that’s when they stopped me and they told me that, “Hey, you can fill out a provisional ballot.” And I said, “What was that?” They said, “If you’re at the right location, it will count. And if you’re not, it won’t.” So I didn’t see any harm with that. So the lady sat me down and helped me out with it. And that’s exactly what I did.”
Several months later in March 2017, Mason said she was arrested for illegal voting. Because Mason was convicted of a felony , unbeknownst to her, the past criminal record prohibited her from voting.
Now she will spend 10 months in federal prison followed by 26 months of supervised release.
Mason’s attorney Kim Voles believes it’s a blatant attempt to silence minority voters.
“This prosecution, is to send a message to minority voters to stay away from the polls. There is absolutely no reason Crystal should have been prosecuted,” Coles said.
“She was not aware that she was not eligible to vote. Texas is one of the states where convicted felons do actually have the right to vote. And so, Crystal, unaware that her being on supervised release would prohibit her from voting, that she wasn’t eligible until—even though she had served her prison sentence, she wasn’t eligible until after her supervised release ended. And she was not aware of that. No one told her that. Her supervised release officer testified on the stand that he did not tell Crystal that she was not eligible to vote.”
Coles continued: “And Crystal herself emphatically has proclaimed, from day one, she was not aware that she could not vote in the state of Texas. And here, for the crime of illegal voting, it requires that you vote knowing that you’re not eligible. And that was not the case here…”
Coles noted the case of Terri Lynn Rote a white woman who was charged with the same crime yet voted for President Trump but was only was sentenced to two years’ probation and fined $750 .
This is so wrong and unjust. What do you think?