Woman sentenced to five years for voting while on parole

Crystal Mason 43 was sentenced to five years in prison for illegally voting in the 2016 presidential election

Texas woman sentenced to five years for voting illegally in 2016 presidential elections

Despite her testimony, a Tarrant County judge sentenced Mason to five years in prison during a bench trial this week.

Crystal Mason of Tarrant County, Texas, was on supervised release for tax fraud when her mother insisted she cast her vote, the Star-Telegram reported.

She testified that she didn't know people convicted of felonies can't vote until they complete their sentence, The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.

Mason pleaded guilty in the tax fraud case and was ordered to pay $4.2 million in restitution after she submitted inflated tax refunds to the IRS on behalf of clients. Ortega's lawyer, Clark Birdsall, said the voter registration form confused his client as it did not have an option for her to indicate she was a permanent resident so when she filled out the form, she checked the only box available which was US citizen. "There were multiple safeguards in place to keep Crystal Mason from breaking the law, but she still made that choice". "I was trying to get more money back for my clients".

"I find it fantastic that the government feels she made this up", St. John said in court. I took accountability for that.

In Texas and elsewhere, it is confusing for a person involved in the criminal justice system to know if, when and how they can vote.

"I don't think I'll ever vote again". I was happy enough to come home and see my daughter graduate. "She was never told by halfway house folks she couldn't vote". "My son is about to graduate", she told the prosecutor in court.

She went on to admit the mistakes she did make. Why would I jeopardize that?

Mason, who served three years in prison for fraud, said she was provided a provisional ballot-after signing an affidavit-at the place she typically goes to vote and that had she known the risks involved, she would have never risked her freedom by casting the ballot.

She had gone to vote at her mother's insistence and brought her driver's license as identification, according to her testimony.

An appeal has been filed for Mason's release. She contends that she was never informed of the state's voting restrictions on felons. 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.

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