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Texas court to review woman's sentence for illegal voting conviction

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals agreed Wednesday to review the case of a woman who was sentenced to five years in prison over an illegal voting conviction, according to the Texas Tribune.

Crystal Mason was charged with illegal voting, a second-degree state felony, in 2018 after she allegedly cast a ballot in the 2016 presidential election while on supervised release for a previous federal conviction.

Her vote was never counted.

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Mason appealed her case to the Texas high court last year after a state appeals court panel sided with the trial court's ruling.

The Tribune notes that the state's court of criminal appeals is comprised entirely of Republicans, and is not required by law to review convictions that don't involved the death penalty. The court did reject oral arguments in its review, and will rely solely on legal briefs.

Mason's lawyers have claimed that she did not intentionally vote illegally, and she was unaware of Texas voting law at the time. 

"These issues have far reaching implications for Texas voters who make innocent mistakes concerning their eligibility to vote and could potentially be prosecuted for such mistakes, including the tens of thousands of voters who submit provisional ballots in general elections believing in good faith they are eligible to vote but turn out to be incorrect in that belief," the lawyers argue, according to the Tribune.

News of the review comes as state legislatures across the country are seeking to enact tighter voting restrictions following the 2020 presidential election. Republicans that have pushed for the measures argue they will increase voter confidence, while Democrats have slammed them as an attempt at disfranchisement.

Last week, Georgia passed a sweeping voting reform bill that would limit the use of ballot drop boxes and sets photo ID requirements for absentee voting, among other restrictions.

Since the Georgia bill's passage, three lawsuits have been brought challenging the legislation including, most recently, a suit brought by the Sixth District of the African Methodist Episcopal Church.