Meet Crystal Mason, the Black Texas Mother Facing 5+ Years in Prison for Voting in the 2016 Election

Democracy Now takes a look at the shocking case of a Texas woman sentenced to five years in prison for illegally voting, who could now have even more time added to her sentence. Crystal Mason cast a provisional ballot in the 2016 presidential election despite having a past felony conviction for tax fraud that prevented her from voting. In March, she was convicted of illegal voting; she says she did not know that she was barred from casting a ballot in Texas due to her criminal record. Her supporters argue her conviction was racially biased, and point to the case of Terri Lynn Rote, a white woman in Iowa who was convicted of the same crime after she tried to vote for President Trump—twice. Rote was sentenced to two years’ probation and fined $750. Crystal Mason joined Democracy Now along with her attorney, Kim Cole. Mason has a federal court hearing in Fort Worth, Texas, tomorrow, and if she loses the hearing, she will be heading to prison. The program also includes Marc Mauer, executive director of The Sentencing Project, who speaks on how policies restricting the voting rights of convicted felons disenfranchise more than 6 million people.

Watch here to see the case of a Detroit man who was freed from prison after 35 years when his murder conviction was overturned.

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