Texas’ Maximum Prison Court Claims Crystal Mason’s Illegal Voting Convicted Has To Be Reevaluated

On Wednesday, the Texas Courtroom of Felony Appeals dealt Crystal Mason, who was controversially convicted of unlawful voting for distributing a provisional ballot in the 2016 election, what appeared like a little acquire.

Mason, a Black lady who experienced formerly been convicted of federal tax fraud, could wind up in prison for five a long time though her provisional ballot was hardly ever counted.

Now, she will have her conviction even further evaluated by the state’s 2nd Court of Appeals, the American Civil Liberties Union in Texas reported in a push release Wednesday.

The Court docket of Criminal Appeals, which is the greatest prison courtroom in Texas, stated the state would have to show that Mason realized she was voting illegally. Mason insists she did not know casting the vote was in opposition to the legislation.

“My existence has been upended for what was, at worst, an innocent misunderstanding of casting a provisional ballot that was in no way even counted,” Mason said in the press release. “I have been named to this struggle for voting legal rights and will continue on to provide my group.”

Contacted by the Observer, a spokesperson for the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office declined to comment since the case stays ongoing.

Alongside with Mason’s attorney, legal rights groups together with the ACLU of Texas and the Texas Civil Rights Job had requested that the Court of Legal Appeals reevaluate Mason’s conviction.

“We imagine that finally what is suitable will prevail and will go on to assist Ms. Mason as she battles this miscarriage of justice,” Tommy Buser-Clancy, senior workers legal professional for the ACLU of Texas, reported in Wednesday’s launch.

Kim T. Cole, Mason’s lawyer, mentioned she need to have “never been convicted,” introducing: “I believe in that the court will precisely interpret and utilize the regulation and overturn Crystal’s conviction.”

“My existence has been upended for what was, at worst, an innocent misunderstanding of casting a provisional ballot that was never ever even counted.” – Crystal Mason

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Mason’s case obtained notoriety amid Texas’ clampdown on voting legal rights. Final 12 months, as Gov. Greg Abbott backed so-referred to as “election integrity” laws, Texas was criticized by rights groups and voting advocacy corporations all around the region.

The Brennan Center for Justice suggests voter fraud is “extremely unusual,” but Texas Republicans drummed up claims of prevalent voter fraud in the wake of the former President Donald Trump’s electoral loss in November 2020.

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, in fact, provided up $1 million in benefits for reports of unlawful voting.

Previous year, states all over the nation, among them Texas, passed new rules introducing a slew of voter constraints.

Mason has beforehand described normal harassment from neighbors in her primarily white community in Rendon, a compact group in close proximity to Fort Value. She says that when she cast her provisional ballot in November 2016, a local poll worker experienced assured her election officials would later both approve it or declare it ineligible.

“There was a concerted exertion on the component of the Republican Occasion to come across and prosecute voter fraud given that the 2016 election, when that was [the GOP’s] mantra. And when that didn’t come to fruition, enter Crystal Mason,” her lawyer told the Observer past year. 

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