Published on Friday, March 30, 2018 at 03:21
Photo: Tarrant County Prison
If she knew she was going to put her back in jail, Crystal Mason said she had never cast a vote in the 2016 presidential election.  The 43-year-old former tax preparer did not even plan to vote until her mother encouraged her. She was recently released from federal jail for a 2012 tax fraud conviction pleading with her clients, her lawyer J. Warren St. John told The Washington Post.
She was still in community supervision at the time of the election – but no one, including her probation officer, said to St. John, ever told her that as a criminal offender, she could not legislate under the law.
Now She Returns
Mason was charged last year with an indictment in Tarrant County, Texas, and found guilty on Thursday of a state judge, despite her assurances she simply did not know it was barred to give a ballot and would never have done it if she had known.
When she said to the Fort Worth Star Telegram at the time she was accused, "You think I would jeopardize my freedom, are you going to leave my babies? That was hard to deal with in my life would – as a mother, as a provider – have their children elected? "
The case is another example of the eager crackdown on Texas electoral fraud – a problem that the heads of state of the GOP have described as" rampant "in the past for which they still have to provide hard evidence, except for isolated cases like that of Mason.
In a 2016 ruling refusing Texas' stringent Voter ID Law, which state legislators had set as a way to stop electoral fraud, the US Court of Appeals for the 5th Circle found only two convictions for the personal Election fraud of 20 million ballots submitted in the years prior to the adoption of the law in 2011.
While personal electoral fraud is considered extremely rare, mail-in voter fraud is less so In 2016, Dallas County had to sequester about 700 suspicious post-in ballots for a city council race after complaints were received from voters who post-in Received ballots that did not require them.
Still after the presidential election in 2016, President Donald Tru's unsubstantiated claims that millions of people had been illegally elected led MP to assemble a now defunct election fraud commission. Texas' quest for personal electoral fraud reflects the zeal of the Trump administration.
In February 2017, another woman in Tarrant County, a Mexican citizen with a green card, was sentenced to eight years in prison after falsely claiming to be a US citizen on her ballot. According to the Fort Worth Star telegram, Rosa Maria Ortega, a mother of four, testified that she had confused the difference between the rights granted to a legal permanent resident and a US citizen whom a jury had not purchased. She voted Republican in elections in 2012 and 2014.
"This case demonstrates how serious Texas is of securing its elections, and the result sends out a message that violations of the state's electoral law will be fully punished." Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said after Ortega was convicted has been.
St. John said he believes Mason's five-year jail sentence, for which he said it is a genuine mistake, is a direct result of such rhetoric from Paxton's office.
"She was in good faith, she showed who she was, everything was true," said St. John. "As she said in court," Why would I want to risk all the work I did to get out of jail, go to the semis and return to my family when I knew that the election would take me to the bottom Would bring prison?
On the day of the presidential election, 8 November 2016, Mason arrived at her polling station and found that her name was not on the electoral roll, said St. John.
An election worker offered help, he said and handed her a preliminary vote allowing a person to cast a vote as long as she confirms her eligibility by signing a sworn statement.The small print on the top encourages the voter to confirm that if she is a felon, she will have her vote She tried to explain to the judge that she did not read attentively because an electoral assistant helped her, which, according to St. John, could not influence him.
Ultimately counted not even her voice, and provisional votes are reviewed, which eventually led to an investigation by Mason.
St. John said he had already made an appeal in the hope of leaving his client out of jail so she could stay with her family. The Fort Worth Star Telegram reported that a "small children's choir" said farewell when a bailiff led them back to jail and said, "Bye, Big Mama."
"I do not think I will" I'll vote again and again, "she told the news agency after her indictment." That's honest. I will never choose again. "