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Crystal Mason: Woman from Texas Released from Prison After 5 Year Sentence Due to Voting Error!


CNS NewsCrystal Mason, a Texas woman whose case became a symbol of voting rights issues, has been acquitted by a Texas appeals court of a five-year prison sentence for attempting to cast a provisional ballot in the 2016 presidential election. In 2016, Mason, then 49, attempted to vote in Fort Worth, Texas, while on supervised release for a tax felony.

She maintained that she had no idea she was ineligible to vote and only tried to cast a ballot because her mother urged her to. Despite her intentions, a judge convicted her in a 2018 trial that lasted just a few hours. Mason’s case gained national attention and struck a chord as an example of what many saw as an egregious punishment for a voting mistake.

Critics argued that the harsh sentence was a thinly veiled effort to intimidate Black voters. The Texas appeals court’s ruling emphasized that there was not sufficient evidence to prove Mason knew she was ineligible to vote.

Justice Wade Birdwell wrote for the court, “We conclude that the quantum of the evidence presented in this case is insufficient to support the conclusion that Mason realized that she voted knowing that she was ineligible to do so and, therefore, insufficient to support her conviction for illegal voting.”

Upon receiving news of her acquittal, Mason expressed emotional relief and reiterated her commitment to fighting for voting rights. She stated, “I was thrown into this fight for voting rights and will keep swinging to ensure no other citizen has to face what I’ve faced and endured for the past seven years, a political ploy where minority voting rights are under attack.”

Although Mason was not particularly involved in politics before her case, she has since become a vocal advocate for voting rights. In 2022, she opened a rally for Beto O’Rourke, further highlighting her commitment to the cause. A key piece of evidence in Mason’s case was testimony from the head poll worker, Mason’s neighbor, who assisted her with filling out the provisional ballot.

He stated that before submitting it, he went over an affidavit with her in which she had to affirm she was not serving a criminal sentence. However, Mason signed the affidavit without understanding that it meant she could not vote. The court agreed that there was not enough evidence to show she “actually realized” the affidavit meant she could not vote.

Alison Grinter Allen, one of Mason’s lawyers, praised her client’s resilience, stating, “Crystal has gone through so much, and all of Texas owes her a great debt of gratitude. Through eight years, never once did she stop fighting, never once did she take her eyes off of the fact that this case was about every single voter in Texas.”

Crystal Mason: Woman from Texas Released from Prison After 5 Year Sentence Due to Voting Error!

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Despite her acquittal, Mason’s case has taken a significant toll on her and her family. After her arrest in 2017, she lost her job at a bank and almost lost her home to foreclosure. However, Mason remains optimistic and steadfast in her commitment to advocating for voting rights.

In a statement reflecting on her ordeal, Mason said, “Although I’ve cried for seven years straight, seven nights a week … I’ve also prayed for seven years straight, seven nights a week. Prayed that I would remain a free black woman. I am overjoyed to see my faith rewarded today.”

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