Crystal Mason, the Texas woman who was sentenced to five years in prison for voting as a convicted felon in the 2016 election, will behaving her case reviewed by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, the New York Times reported. If this review doesn’t work out in Mason’s favor she will be sent to prison and will have to appeal again on a federal level.
“This is very overwhelming, waking up every day knowing that prison is on the line, trying to maintain a smile on your face in front of your kids and you don’t know the outcome,” Mason told the Times about her situation. “Your future is in someone else’s hands because of a simple error.”
When she went to vote in the 2016 election, her name didn’t appear in the voting rolls at the Tarrant County polling location. Mason then innocently filled out a provisional ballot. Mason was on supervised release at the time after serving five years for tax fraud and wasn’t aware that she couldn’t vote. This led to her being charged and convicted of illegal voting, a second degree felony, in 2018. According to FOX 4, she was convicted based on an affidavit that she signed the day she casted her vote, which wasn’t counted. The affidavit stated that “if a felon, I have completed all my punishment including any term of incarceration, parole, supervision, period of probation, or I have been pardoned.” Mason, who said she didn’t read that part of the document, was on probation at the time.
“Crystal never wanted to be a voting rights advocate,” one of Mason’s lawyers Alison Grinter told the Times. “She didn’t want to be a political football here. She just wanted to be a mom and a grandmother and put her life on track, but she’s really taken it and run with it, and she refuses to be intimidated.”
Mason requested a new trial in 2018 but her request was denied by the same judge who sentenced her, Judge Ruben Gonzalez. Mason has been able to remain free on bond due to her pending appeal.