Conviction of Texas woman who tried to vote illegally is overturned

In a significant turn of events, a Texas appeals court has overturned the five-year prison sentence of a woman who was convicted of voting illegally. This decision marks the end of a lengthy and highly publicized legal battle.

In 2018, Crystal Mason received a five-year prison sentence after she stated that she was unaware of her ineligibility to vote due to her previous conviction for tax fraud in 2011. During the 2016 presidential election, she cast a provisional ballot with the assistance of a poll worker.

In a ruling on Thursday, Justice Wade Birdwell from the Second District Appeals Court overturned Mason’s sentence. Justice Birdwell stated that simply finding Mason to be not credible and disbelieving her claim of actual knowledge is not enough to prove her guilt.

According to Birdwell, Mason testified that she was not informed about her voting rights while she was in prison. Mason also stated that she did not read the provisional ballot’s affirmations that outlined the restrictions on felon voting. She claimed that she was unaware of the fact that she was not allowed to vote because she was on supervised release from prison.

According to the ruling, officials determined that Mason’s ballot was ineligible to be counted due to her 2011 conviction.

According to Birdwell, the State’s main evidence was Mason’s ability to read the words on the affidavit.

“But, even if she had read them, those documents alone are not enough to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that she actually knew she was ineligible to vote by casting a provisional ballot while on supervised release after serving her entire federal sentence of incarceration,” he added.

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In 2021, the Court of Criminal Appeals made an important announcement. They declared that they would be reviewing an appeal from Mason, who was currently out of prison on an appeal bond.

The lower court’s decision has faced criticism and garnered national attention due to her sentence in 2018.

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