Civil rights groups will help defend felon sentenced for illegal voting

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woman in prison

A convicted felon from Rendon who received a five-year prison sentence for voting in the 2016 general election now has the backing of civil rights groups as she appeals.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, the ACLU Voting Rights Project and the Texas Civil Rights Project will assist the legal team that is representing Crystal Mason, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported. Mason, 43, who was on supervised release from a 2011 conviction for tax fraud when she cast the ballot, said she didn’t know she wasn’t allowed to vote until her sentence was complete, including her time on parole.

“I am very excited to have the ACLU of Texas and the Texas Civil Rights Project joining me in my fight,” Mason said in a press release. “I am very grateful and I hope that justice will prevail here.”

In addition to the five-year sentence, Rendon will spend another 10 months in federal prison for violating the terms of her parole.

Mason’s defenders point out that the provisional ballot she cast wasn’t even counted.

“The prosecution of Crystal Mason for the innocent mistake of casting a provisional ballot that wasn’t even counted is a severe injustice,” Andre Segura, legal director for the ACLU of Texas, said in the press release. “Ms. Mason simply attempted to follow the law and participate in what she believed to be her civic duty, and in return has been sentenced to an outrageous length of time in prison.”

The civil rights groups will join Mason’s criminal attorneys Alison Grinter and Kim Cole in representing her in an upcoming hearing before the Texas Court of Appeals, the newspaper reported.

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