Woman Appealing Prison Sentence For Illegal Voting

Andrew Greenstein
April 17, 2018 - 4:02 pm
Crystal Mason

Andrew Greenstein

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DALLAS (1080 KRLD) - A Tarrant County woman sentenced to prison for illegal voting says she didn't know she was doing anything wrong.

Crystal Mason, 43, is free on bond while appealing her five-year prison sentence for voting in the 2016 presidential election when it was illegal for her to do so.

"I had no idea that me being on probation at the time (meant) that I couldn't vote," says Mason.

Mason spent nearly three years in federal prison for financial fraud and had been on probation at the time of the election, making her ineligible to vote.

Mason's attorney, Kim Cole, says the sentence is excessive.

"She exercised the right to vote and did not know at the time that it was illegal for her to do so and should not spend five years in prison," Cole says.

Mason had cast a provisional ballot, which ultimately wasn't counted.

Cole says the sentence handed down against Mason, who's black, was racially motivated.​

The Tarrant County District Attorney's Office, however, says Mason and her attorney are not telling the whole story.

It points out that Mason was first offered a shorter prison sentence, then she was offered probation -- and both times, she and her attorney said no.

The DA's office points out that of the four people who have recently been sentenced for illegal voting in the state, two of them are white.

Their sentences are in line with Mason's five-year term -- a woman was sentenced to four years in prison after pleading guilty, and a man was sentenced to five years after being tried and convicted.