In Texas, people under federal supervised release are not allowed to vote, which is something that Crystal Mason did not know at the time.
Mom-of-three Crystal Mason's honest mistake landed her in federal prison for five years. The Texas resident committed a crime that she really wasn't aware of. Mason was charged with voter fraud, a federal crime, as she was on 'federal supervised release' when she cast her vote. In Texas, people under federal supervised release are not allowed to vote, which is something that Mason did not know at the time.
I just pledged to show my support for Crystal Mason, a Black woman sentenced to five years in prison for trying to vote. Show Crystal you support her, too: https://t.co/QsOnx8T05l— Molly Wadzeck Kraus (@WadzeckKraus) September 9, 2019
In 2016, Mason and her niece Joanna headed out to exercise their right to vote. But when her name wasn't on the list of registered voters, the poll worker suggested that Mason could fill out a provisional ballot. But that want to vote cost Mason a harsh lesson with the country's flawed judicial system.
Six months after she cast her vote, Mason was approached by police officers who told her that they were armed with a warrant for her arrest. Her crime? Illegal voting. Even though Mason provided the voting officers with her ID, her action was considered illegal as Texas's law prevents people under federal supervised release to vote. Mason was arrested the very same day.
Crystal Mason made national headlines after getting sent to prison for trying to vote in 2016. Now, she's asking an appeals court for a new trial. https://t.co/qRyUxCIqqF— HuffPost Politics (@HuffPostPol) September 9, 2019
Mason was previously charged for tax fraud, which is what put her under the category of being under supervised federal release. But she personally didn't know that her voting would be considered an illegal practice.
Crystal Mason’s case follows a long and ugly history of voter suppression in Texas. https://t.co/akCwNdzwYm— Texas Observer (@TexasObserver) September 9, 2019
Because of the glitches in the justice system, Mason's appeal did not get recognized immediately. Since her arrest, Mason made bail but was not allowed to live in her own home. Her strife, however, did earn her the well-deserved freedom, Mason's struggle inspired those around her and pushed them to vote for someone who will make a notable change in the American justice system.