A Texas woman has been sentenced to five years in prison for voting in the 2016 presidential election when she was ineligible to do so. Forty-three-year-old Crystal Mason had signed an affidavit laying out several requirements allowing her to vote. Not being a convicted felon or having served a full sentence were among the requirements on that list.
Mason was convicted in 2011 for tax fraud. She was on supervised release when she voted in 2016. Texas law prohibits convicted felons from voting until they complete their full sentence, including supervised release.
The investigation into Mason’s actions began when a worker at the polling station was unable to find her name on the roll. An election judge allowed her to vote upon Mason’s signing of the affidavit.
In cases involving voter fraud prosecutors must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the individual was aware they were violating the law by voting. “The affidavit was a stop sign in front of her face,” Tarrant County prosecutor Matt Smid said.
Sentencing in cases like Mason’s rest more or less on the judge’s discretion as there is very legal precedent. The judge in Mason’s case had the option of sentencing her to anywhere from two to twenty years in prison.
Mason denies deliberately trying to break the law.
“I inflated returns. 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,” she said. “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.”
She has appealed her sentence, asking that she released on bond.