Texas woman sentenced to 5 years in prison for illegally voting in 2016 election

The woman was on parole when she voted in the 2016 presidential election.

March 31, 2018, 5:19 AM
Voting booths are pictured in this undated stock photo.
Voting booths are pictured in this undated stock photo.
STOCK PHOTO/Getty Images

A trip to her local polling place may have earned a Texas woman five years behind bars.

Crystal Mason was sentenced to five years in prison this week after she voted in the 2016 election while on parole, according to Dallas ABC affiliate WFAA. Mason was on parole after serving time for a federal tax crime, her lawyer said.

"She had a good faith belief she could vote legally and she did so," Mason's attorney Warrent St. John told WFAA.

The 43-year-old Mason says she had no idea she was committing a crime. Mason voted in Tarrant County, just west of Dallas.

"She testified this week in court that she was never told by the federal judge she couldn't vote," St. John said. "She was never told by halfway house folks she couldn't vote."

Mason did not want to speak when reached by WFAA, but she told The Dallas Morning News she "didn't even want to vote."

Texas law states it is illegal for a felon to vote while serving their sentence, including while on parole.

"Our society is built on personal responsibility," Tarrant County District Attorney Sharen Wilson said in a statement given to WFAA. "There were multiple safeguards in place to keep Crystal Mason from breaking the law, but she still made that choice."

Mason has already appealed the conviction, WFAA reported.

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