Prosecutors want a reversal after a Texas woman’s voter fraud conviction was overturned


FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Prosecutors in Texas asked the state’s highest criminal appeals court on Thursday to reverse a ruling that overturned a Fort Worth woman’s voter fraud conviction and five-year prison term for casting an illegal provisional ballot.

Last month, Crystal Mason’s illegal voting conviction was overturned by the Second Court of Appeals. Now the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office is asking the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals to reverse that ruling.

Mason was convicted in 2018 of illegal voting in district court. Prosecutors maintained that Mason read and signed an affidavit accompanying the provisional ballot affirming that she had “fully completed” her sentence if convicted of a felony.

But the Second Court of Appeals ruled that even if she read the words on the affidavit, she may not have known that being on probation for a previous felony conviction left her ineligible to vote in 2016.

Tommy Buser-Clancy, an attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, which has been one of Mason’s representatives in the case, said in a statement that the request for further review of Mason’s case was “disappointing,” but they were “confident that justice will ultimately prevail.”

“The court of appeals’ decision was well reasoned and correct. It is time to give Ms. Mason peace with her family,” Buser-Clancy said.

The ACLU of Texas said Mason wasn’t doing interviews on Thursday.

Mason, a former tax preparer, had been convicted in 2012 on charges related to inflating refunds for clients and served nearly three years of a five-year sentence in prison. Then she was placed on a three-year term of supervised release and had to pay $4.2 million in restitution, according to court documents.

Mason’s long sentence made both state Republican and Democratic lawmakers uneasy. In 2021, after passing a new voting law measure over Democrats’ objections, the GOP-controlled state House approved a resolution stating that “a person should not be criminally incarcerated for making an innocent mistake.”

Texas is among dozens of states that prevent felons from voting even after they leave prison.

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