A Texas woman who mistakenly voted illegally in the 2016 presidential election has been dealt a five-year prison sentence.
Crystal Mason claims that she did not fully understand the terms of her probation following a fraud conviction from 2011, USA Today reports. According to Texas law, people convicted of felonies cannot vote, the Dallas Morning News reports. But convicts can have their voting rights restored after they have completed their full sentence, including probation.
When Mason showed up at the polling station, she say that her name was not on the voter role. Instead, she was granted a provisional ballot, for which she had to sign an affidavit that included a requirement that she was not.
According to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Mason said she did not carefully read the form because an election official was helping her.
Her story failed to convince the Tarrant County District Judge Ruben Gonzalez that Mason did not know that she could not vote, even with Mason’ probation officer testifying that he did not notify her of that fact. Casting a vote illegally is considered a second-degree felony that is punishable by up to 20 years in prison.
Mason says that she did not even want to vote that day, but her mother insisted, she told the Star-Telegram.
“You think I would jeopardise my freedom? You honestly think I would ever want to leave my babies again?” she said.
Her legal team has already filed an appeal.