Support Crystal Mason
Update 3/20/2020: A three-judge panel of the Court of Appeals for the Second District of Texas denied our appeal for Crystal Mason. We are now seeking to have the full court review the appeal. Add your name to show your support for Crystal as this fight continues.
Crystal Mason, a Black mother of three from Texas, thought she was performing her civic duty by filling out a provisional ballot in the 2016 election. She didn't know it would land her a five-year prison sentence, upending her family and the life she had built.
At the time, Crystal was on federal supervised release, a preliminary period of freedom for individuals who have served their full time of incarceration in federal prison. Nobody told her that the state considered her ineligible to vote. Yet the state of Texas contended that somehow, she should have known. Although the state didn’t even count her provisional ballot, it still intends to send her to prison for the crime of voting while the state considered her ineligible.
Immediately, the life that she had spent years rebuilding, including holding a full-time job while going to school and starting her own business, was upended. She returned to federal prison for violating the terms of release, leaving behind her three children and four others in her care.
“I came back here and rehabilitated myself," says Crystal. "Why would I dare jeopardize losing a good job, saving my house, and leaving my kids again and missing my son from graduating from high school this year as well as going to college on a football scholarship? I wouldn’t dare do that, not to vote."
Crystal's sentence is also an example of racial disparities in the criminal justice system. A white woman in Iowa, Terri Lynn Rote, was convicted of voter fraud after purposely trying to cast a ballot for President Trump twice, and received a sentence of two years' probation and a $750 fine. And last year, a white, Republican justice of the peace in Tarrant County pled guilty to submitting fake signatures to secure a place on a primary ballot and was sentenced to five years’ probation. But Crystal, a Black woman, was sentenced to five years in prison for what was at worst an honest mistake.
The ACLU, along with the Texas Civil Rights Project, have joined Crystal's legal team. While we argue her case, showing public support could make the difference. Add your name to make loud and clear: I support Crystal Mason.