• Show Notes

Dear Reader,

Crystal Mason made a mistake. An understandable, forgivable mistake. She voted when she wasn’t eligible to. But she didn’t know she wasn’t eligible. 

Mason went with other family members to their polling place in Texas to vote in the 2016 presidential election. She wasn’t listed on the voter rolls, so a poll worker suggested that she cast a provisional ballot. They gave her one and she filled it out, but her vote was never counted. A routine check during the count clarified she wasn’t eligible to vote.

But Mason, who is Black, was prosecuted and convicted for voter fraud by the state of Texas and sentenced to five years in prison. Texas law makes it a crime to vote if a person knows they are not eligible. In Texas, that includes a person who is on probation, parole, or supervision. Mason pled guilty to federal tax fraud charges in 2012. By 2016, she was on supervised release and in the process of rehabilitating herself. She told investigators she didn’t know she was ineligible to vote, and her probation officer never advised her that she was.