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Thursday, July 5, 2018

Black Woman Sentenced to 5 Years in Prison for Accidentally Voting Illegally Loses Bid For New Trial

Crystal Mason

Crystal Mason

Tarrant County, TX — Crystal Mason, a woman who unintentionally voted while on probation, was sentenced to a five-year imprisonment… and now she has been turned down for a new trial. Early this year, an online petition to drop all charges against Mason was started by a group of supporters.

“Prison is a lot closer for her today,” Alison Grinter, Mason’s lawyer said, also noting that her client will appeal the decision to a higher court. Tarrant County District Attorney Sharen Wilson refused to give a comment.

Last March 28, state district court Judge Ruben Gonzalez convicted Mason of illegal voting and sentenced her to five years in prison. She had been free on bond pending appeal.

Mason, who was imprisoned for 5 years for tax fraud and was freed in early 2016, said she wasn’t aware — and she wasn’t told — that her felony status won’t allow her to vote for that year’s presidential elections. Her name wasn’t on the rolls so she cast a provisional ballot at her local church, which wasn’t counted.

“Crystal’s name was purged from the rolls when she went to prison, but Crystal did not know that,” Grinter said in an interview.

Voting rights for felons vary in different states and it has always been a controversial issue. Over 6 million Americans were deprived of their right to vote due to felony disenfranchisement laws, according to the Sentencing Project, a nonprofit organization that aims to reform criminal justice.

Mason’s online petition page includes a photo of Terri Lynn Rote, a white woman who illegally tried to vote for President Trump twice and was charged with voter fraud but was only sentenced to two years’ probation and $750 fine. So far, he petition has over 38,000 signatures.

Mason is now preparing to appeal the rejection of her motion for a new trial. She said she never loses hope.

“I showed my kids that no matter what you can get out and get your life in order,” Mason said. “But sometimes, regardless of whatever your past is, you are still going to be beat up for it.”

Watch the news coverage below:

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