Crystal Mason, Jailed for Illegal Voting, Fights to have Conviction Overturned

by Shine My Crown Staff
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Crystal Mason, a woman jailed for casting a provisional ballot in the 2016 presidential election while on supervised release for a federal conviction, is fighting to overturn her conviction.

Mason said she cast her ballot on the advice of a poll worker. Her vote was not counted. Mason maintains that he did not know that she was ineligible to vote under Texas law.

In order for her to vote, she would have been required first to complete her sentence on a federal tax fraud conviction.

“Crystal Mason never wanted to be a voting rights advocate,” said Alison Grinter, criminal defense attorney for Mason, in a statement released by ACLU Texas. “She never wanted to be on the news or have her name become a rallying point in a politically divisive battle. Hers is a textbook case for why provisional ballots were created and why they must not be criminalized. Crystal’s fight is a fight for every Texan.”

Her legal team argues that her vote was never counted and that an appellate court should not have upheld her conviction earlier this year. They say the decision they say conflicts with the Federal Help America Vote Act.

“Like her, thousands of voters cast provisional ballots during every federal election,” said Emma Hilbert, attorney for the Texas Civil Rights Project. “Criminalizing those actions jeopardizes our democratic values and risks silencing the voices of voters across this state and nation.”

Nearly 4,500 provisional ballots were cast in 2016 in Tarrant County. Of those ballots, 3,990 were rejected. No other residents faced prosecution.

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