Judicial authorities in Texas breathed new life into the case of a grandmother was sent to prison over casting a provisional ballot in the 2016 election. On Wednesday the Texas Court of Appeals said it would consider an appeal filed by Crystal Mason.
Mason became an important figure in the fight for voter education and criminal justice reform when she was sentenced to five years in prison in 2018. Throughout her case Mason has maintained she was unaware of a state mandate that barred persons with convictions from voting.
“She’s absolutely buoyed,” Mason’s attorney Alison Grinter told NBC News. “Her family is just over the moon today that she literally lives to fight another day.”
Mason was out on supervised parole in 2016 when she stood in line to submit a provisional ballot in the 2016 election. But because of her prior 2011 tax fraud conviction, Mason was not allowed to vote in the state of Texas. Mason filled out a ballot with the help of a poll worker, but election officials later discounted her ballot due to the state mandate.
Provisional ballots are routinely used by voter’s whose eligibility is in question, according to the Texas Tribune. In Tarrant County where Mason resides, 4,500 provisional ballots were cast in 2016, and 3,990 were rejected — but Mason wound up being criminalized.
In court Tarrant County prosecutors argued that Mason knowingly signed an affidavit informing voters of the consequences if they had a prior conviction. However, Mason said that she did not pay read that portion of the affidavit because the poll worker had helped her fill out the required forms.
A trial court judge agreed with prosecutors and convicted her of illegally voting, a second-degree state felony. In March 2020, a state appellate court upheld the conviction. She served in prison until she was released to a halfway house in May 2020.
In December, Mason’s legal team, which includes lawyers from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Texas Civil Rights Project, filed an appeal.
They argue that because Mason did not know she was prohibited from voting and used a provisional ballot, it does not warrant the same offense as committing voter fraud.
According to Texas.gov, a person convicted of a felony has their rights automatically restored after their sentence has been fully discharged or pardoned, but many people who have served time for felony convictions are unclear on whether they fall under those categories.
“It’s really important to her that people not see her story and get discouraged from going to the ballot box, because she feels like that’s exactly what the Tarrant County district attorney wants to have happen,” Ginter said.
'Karens' Gone Wild: Videos Show Privileged White Women Won't Stop Trying To Police Black People
1. Courtside Karen
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PRAY FOR LEBRON pic.twitter.com/Z8oAhl2kqf— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) February 2, 2021
2. Arlo SoHo Karen
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Wow! This woman made baseless claims against @keyonharrold and his 14yo son at @arlohotels Arlo SoHo — then assaulted them, scratching Keyon & tackling his boy. Worse, the hotel manager defended & empowered her actions, and refused to apologize after her claims were proven wrong! pic.twitter.com/LqHboiAEd6— Ben Crump (@AttorneyCrump) December 27, 2020
3. Trader Joe's 'Karen'
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This is a Trader Joe’s today. In Los Angeles. Cases are through the roof in California. Is there any way to reach these people?— Joshua Potash (@JoshuaPotash) June 27, 2020
4. 'Karen' the angry neighbor
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hey guys!! this is my new neighbor!! pic.twitter.com/yZxsQD1daS— bailey (@bailey3jenkins) June 27, 2020
5. ‘Karen’ Pulls Gun On Black Woman And Daughter After Chipotle Argument5 of 26
6. Nurse ‘Karen’ Fired
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Caron Jones — that’s Caron with a “K” as in “Karen” 👩🏼⚕️ — also called the Black Lives Matter movement a "ploy" for Black votes before the North Carolina nurse got fired for her racist social media posts.https://t.co/WQn68gNToF— NewsOne (@newsone) July 1, 2020
7. St. Louis 'Karen'7 of 26
8. ‘Karen’s Husband’ Investigated After Calling Cops On Black Men
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9. Convenience Store ‘Karen’
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It was the I’m the wrong nigga for me 😭 pic.twitter.com/2Rv33NNn2k— HEAVYY ON IT 🗣💕 (@HeavyyCampp) June 25, 2020
10. Nurse ‘Karen’ Loses Her Job For ‘Black Privilege’ Video10 of 26
11. Seattle ‘Karen’ Has A Total Meltdown After Black Driver Records Her ‘White Tears’
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"I HAVE A BLACK HUSBAND!"— NewsOne (@newsone) June 23, 2020
A "Karen" in Seattle identified as Leah completely lost it when Karlos Dillard, a Black man, confronted and recorded her after he says he was the victim of her racist road rage.
The video has gone viral as Karening gets worse.https://t.co/X5ryYpQlhF
12. Officer ‘Karen’ Is Slammed For Crying White Tears Over McDonald’s Wait12 of 26
13. Kroger ‘Karen’ Blocks Black Mother From Pulling Out Of Parking Lot Over ‘Gatorade’13 of 26
14. San Francisco ‘Karen’ Who Called Cops Over ‘BLM’ Art
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A white couple call the police on me, a person of color, for stencilling a #BLM chalk message on my own front retaining wall. “Karen” lies and says she knows that I don’t live in my own house, because she knows the person who lives here. #blacklivesmatter pic.twitter.com/rOpHvKVwgP— James Juanillo (@jaimetoons) June 12, 2020
15. Karen the "Shorewood Spitter"15 of 26
16. Karen's husband
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17. Karen's other husband17 of 26
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Racism rots your brain pic.twitter.com/OuzPmyRN6d— Khary Penebaker (@kharyp) May 17, 2020
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On the next episode of “are white people ok? 👀”.... meet Red Lobster Karen 🦞 pic.twitter.com/ElgRipPyrU— Human Capital Stock. ✊🏽🦺🌈🧤🪑 (@angel_felixv) May 13, 2020
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I can’t believe this is real. This lady went out to video shame everyone who dared to have fun in the sun at the beach and then she yelled at a Trader Joe’s worker over social distancing.— Robby Starbuck (@robbystarbuck) May 18, 2020
Karen needs to just stay home and leave the rest of us alone... 🙄🤦🏻♂️pic.twitter.com/QUeZkRSudW
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K*ren: "Arrest me"— Scottie PIPM (@scottiepipm) April 23, 2020
K*ren: 😲 pic.twitter.com/5NJnPsSj8k
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I’m baffled. Just saw this on the news. Woman who drove 1.5 hours to go to the beach with her family complains about other people at the beach who have done the same as her. Does she not see she’s part of the problem #StayAtHomeSaveLives #COVIDIDIOTS pic.twitter.com/iowllyZEk2— Colm McAfee (@mcafee77) May 17, 2020
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Texas Court Will Hear Appeal Of Crystal Mason, Black Woman Jailed For Trying To Vote was originally published on newsone.com