Crystal Mason, a 43-year-old, Black mother, was sentenced to five years in prison for illegally voting in the 2016 presidential election. At time time of the election, Mason had served three years in prison for income tax fraud. Her mother insisted she vote. Mason had to complete a provisional ballot since her name was not on the voter roll. Her ballot was not counted after it was discovered she was on probation.
It’s difficult to understand why questions from poll workers at the voting precinct did not lead to advisement to Mason that she is ineligible to vote. Mason said she was never told that voting while on probation is a felony.
Let’s say all that is true. Some might take the position that ignorance of the law is not a viable defense. Sentencing someone to five years in prison is cruel. Ethan Couch, the teen who killed four people while driving under the influence only served two years in jail. Four people dead and he serves two years. In jail. Voting while on probation and Mason receives five years. In prison. Where is the justice?
Both Mason and Couch were tried in the Tarrant County, Texas courts system. Now, Mason says she will never vote again. That is how voter intimidation and voter suppression work.