At this point, those against at least some reforms towards more felon voting rights are ignoring the basic historical facts about the origins of the legislation in America. On top of this, by making felon voting illegal they are saying they want a government policy that sends a message that even a lifetime of attempted redemption and good deeds can’t erase a past error, even a small one. The truth is that felons have as much right as any other citizen to cast votes. Denying them this right is discrimination of the first order and jailing them for “illegally voting” is nothing short of despicable and and abuse of basic civil and human rights. Unfortunately, the sad reality is that some felons continue to be deprived of the right to vote in America. Sadly, this is the case of Crystal Mason of Tarrant county in Texas who even faces a 5-year prison sentence for casting a ballot. Christina Morales had this information in the New York Times. Here is an excerpt:
On Election Day 2016, Crystal Mason went to vote after her mother insisted that she make her voice heard in the presidential election. When her name didn’t appear on official voting rolls at her polling place in Tarrant County, Texas, she filled out a provisional ballot, not thinking anything of it.
Ms. Mason’s ballot was never officially counted or tallied because she was ineligible to vote: She was on supervised release after serving five years for tax fraud. Nonetheless, that ballot has wrangled her into a lengthy appeals process after a state district court sentenced her to five years in prison for illegal voting, as she was a felon on probation when she cast her ballot.
Ms. Mason maintains that she didn’t know she was ineligible to vote.
Read the full article here. You can also see more on this subject at either the Democracy Chronicles felon voting archive or African-American Voting Rights. Also, see our main section on American Democracy and our Voter Access articles focusing more broadly on the ease of voting and the various barriers in the way.