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Texas Woman Gets 5 Years in Prison for Voting While on Probation

30 March 2018

A Texas woman got sentenced to five years behind bars this week for voting illegally in the 2016 presidential elections.

Crystal Mason, 43, a mother of two, was released from prison after serving nearly three years for a tax fraud conviction in 2011, the Star-Telegram reported.

She was still on community supervision at the time of the election - but no one, including her probation officer, St. John said, ever told her that being a felon on supervision meant she couldn't vote under Texas law.

But Tarrant County District Judge Ruben Gonzalez was not swayed by the arguments. Mason's case is being compared to that of Rosa Maria Ortega, a legal US resident and green card holder (and a conservative) who was apparently unaware that she could not legally vote because she wasn't a full citizen.

Mason, who served close to three years in federal prison after pleading guilty to tax fraud in 2011, testified that she was given a provisional ballot when she arrived at her designated polling location and discovered her name wasn't listed on the voter roll.

The affidavit form outlines the necessary requirements needed to vote, according to the Dallas Morning News. Convicted of voting illegally, she received a sentence of eight years in prison for voting in the 2012 general election and the 2014 Republican primary runoff. As for Mason, "I don't think I'll ever vote again", she told the Star-Telegram after being indicted previous year.

"I was happy enough to come home and see my daughter graduate", she told the court.

"You think I would jeopardise my freedom?" Mason says she hadn't even wanted to vote, but her mom had talked her into it, per the Washington Post.

Mason's attorney, J. Warren St. John, said following the verdict that an appeal had already been filed and he hoped his client would soon be released on bond.

"I find it fantastic that the government feels she made this up", St. John told the court.

The distraught mother of two justified that she voted upon her mother's insistence and wasn't aware of the fact she couldn't vote. "Just like she said in court, 'Why would I want to jeopardize all the work I did to get out of prison, go to the halfway house and get back to my family, if I knew voting was going to get me into prison?"

Texas Woman Gets 5 Years in Prison for Voting While on Probation