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Texas Court Orders Review of Woman's Illegal-Voting Conviction

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals on Wednesday ordered a lower court to review the case of Crystal Mason, who was sentenced to prison for five years for illegal voting. Mason cast a provisional ballot in the 2016 presidential election after finding that her name wasn’t on the voter roll. She was out on supervised release after finishing her sentence for a federal tax fraud conviction. Mason said she wasn’t aware that she wasn’t eligible to vote. Texas law allows people convicted of felonies to vote only after they have completed their sentence, including probationary periods, parole and supervised release, reports the Wall Street Journal. Mason was convicted in 2018 of illegal voting. An appeals court upheld the ruling, saying prosecutors needed to prove only that Mason knew when she voted that she was on supervised release after a felony conviction.

The Court of Criminal Appeals sent the case, which attracted national attention, back to the appeals court “to evaluate the sufficiency of the evidence under the correct interpretation of the statute.” Mason’s lawyers said their client was unaware that she was ineligible to vote and wouldn’t have tried to vote if she knew she wasn’t allowed to. They said her provisional ballot was thrown out. “My life has been upended for what was, at worst, an innocent misunderstanding of casting a provisional ballot that was never even counted,” Ms. Mason said in a statement released by the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, which assisted her appeal.

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