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Texas Woman Gets 5 Years In Prison For Voting While On Probation

There isn’t a word in the English language that can sum up what recently happened to Crystal Mason. Ludicrous comes close, but then again, there’s nothing amusing about this.

Mason was convicted of tax fraud in 2012 after she pled guilty to “inflating returns on client documents.” She did her time in a federal prison and was released in 2016, but now she’ll be going back there for another five years.

Her crime this time around? You guessed it – voting. No, seriously.

 

Close-up of a voting ballot with a red pencilMason said she was encouraged to vote by her mom in the 2016 presidential election. When they arrived to the polling station, they realized her name wasn’t on the voter roll, so she filled out a provisional ballot instead. Those provisional ballots had fine print that “ask the voter to certify that they’re not a felon, and whether or not they have completed their sentence or are currently on parole.”

Mason’s ballot was eventually reviewed and denied, but she wasn’t given an explanation why. Instead, she was arrested by police only after an election worker drew attention to the unaccepted ballot by complaining to the Tarrant County district attorney’s office.

 

Think about that. Her vote was denied, so it had no bearing on the election result, and the election worker was still so butthurt by her voting that she complained to the powers that be.

As Mason stood before District Judge Ruben Gonzalez, she explained that she didn’t read the fine print because she was being helped by an election worker. It was simply an honest mistake. Hell, she wouldn’t have even voted if she knew that it violated her probation. Here’s what Mason had to say:

“They tell you certain things like you can’t be around a felon, you can’t have a gun. No one actually said, ‘Hey, you can’t vote this year. You think I would jeopardize my freedom? You honestly think I would ever want to leave my babies again? That was the hardest thing in my life to deal with. Who would — as a mother, as a provider — leave their kids over voting?”

Despite that explanation and her plea for Gonzalez to use common sense, he still gave Mason a five-year prison sentence. And that, kids, is simply pathetic.

 

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