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Texas Courtroom Orders A Assessment of Crystal Mason’s 5-12 months Sentence For Unlawful Voting

The Texas Courtroom of Prison Appeals ordered a decrease court docket to overview the case in opposition to Crystal Mason, who was convicted of unlawful voting in 2016 and sentenced to 5 years.

Mason voted within the 2016 election whereas she was on supervised launch after being launched from jail on federal tax evasion prices. In 2018, Mason was convicted of a second-degree felony and sentenced to 5 years in jail. Mason is at present out on bond.

In response to Mason’s legal professional, Alison Grinter Allen, Mason was unaware she couldn’t vote as a result of though she was out of jail, her sentence was not accomplished. Mason, who wasn’t on the state’s voter rolls, used a provisional poll to vote, which was not counted.

NPR studies The Texas Courtroom of Prison Appeals decided a decrease court docket mistakenly upheld Mason’s conviction by “failing to require proof that [Mason] had precise information that it was a criminal offense for her to vote whereas on supervised launch.”

The case will now return to the Courtroom of Appeals, the place it was ordered to take up the case with the brand new directive from the upper court docket.

Final yr, Texas Republicans handed a controversial voting restrictions invoice that created new legal penalties for individuals who help voters in-person or by mail and elevated penalties for present election crimes.

The invoice additionally included provisions aimed toward stopping one other case like Mason’s. A provision within the regulation states an individual “will not be convicted solely upon the truth that the individual signed a provisional poll affidavit … until corroborated by different proof that the individual knowingly dedicated the offense.”

“The modification clarifies {that a} provisional poll affidavit alone is inadequate proof that the individual MASON ― knowingly dedicated the offense,” the court docket wrote in its determination. “Corroboration by different proof is required for conviction.”

Voting rights advocates fought the invoice’s passing, saying it could result in individuals being arrested and charged for making sincere errors whereas voting. Advocates additionally mentioned the regulation disproportionately impacts communities of shade within the state. Texas Democrats have been so in opposition to the invoice many fled the state to dam the invoice from being voted on.



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