Civil Rights Organizations Are Fighting For Crystal Mason, Who Was Imprisoned For Voting, To Be Released From Prison
“I am very grateful and I hope that justice will prevail here," Mason said.
May 13, 2019 at 4:42 pm
Crystal Mason, a Texas woman who was sent to prison for voting, is fighting for her freedom with the help of new additions to her legal team.
The Texas Civil Rights Project, American Civil Liberties Union Texas and ACLU Voting Rights Project signed on to help Mason appeal her conviction, reports The Star-Telegram. Mason is fighting to have her sentence reversed or undergo a new trial.
As Blavity previously reported, Mason was sentenced to five years in prison for voting as a felon.
The ordeal started when she tried to vote in the 2016 election while she was on supervised release after she served three years in prison for tax fraud. When Mason attempted to vote, she couldn’t find herself on the voting rolls so she requested a provisional ballot. A poll worker became suspicious, prompting the county to investigate. Mason claims no one told her she was not allowed to vote until she finished her entire sentence, which includes supervised release. The ballot was never counted.
"I inflated returns," Mason said last year. "I was trying to get more money back for my clients. I admitted that. I owned up to that. I took accountability for that. I would never do that again. I was happy enough to come home and see my daughter graduate. My son is about to graduate. Why would I jeopardize that? Not to vote. … I didn't even want to go vote."
In August, Mason was sentenced to an additional 10 months for violating the terms of her supervised release.
Mason released a statement expressing her gratitude toward her new legal team.
“I am very excited to have the ACLU of Texas and the Texas Civil Rights Project joining me in my fight,” Mason said. “I am very grateful and I hope that justice will prevail here.”
ACLU attorney Andre Segura criticized the lengthy sentence for what he sees as an honest mistake.
“The prosecution of Crystal Mason for the innocent mistake of casting a provision ballot that wasn’t even counted is a severe injustice,” Segura said in a statement to HuffPost. “Ms. Mason simply attempted to follow the law and participate in what she believed to be her civic duty, and in return has been sentenced to an outrageous length of time in prison.”
Mason was released from federal prison on last week and is currently living at a halfway house.
Oral arguments for the case begin June 4.
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