Texas Woman Locked Up for Voting While on Parole

Brandon Parsons
April 2, 2018

A Tarrant County woman received a 5-year prison sentence for voting in the 2016 presidential election while she was on parole.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that Mason testified she didn't know people convicted of felonies couldn't vote until they complete their sentence.

According to a report released in 2016 compiled by the Sentencing Project, a criminal justice reform advocacy group, more than 6 million felons in the United States and almost 500,000 in Texas were ineligible to vote in 2016.

The fraud charge stemmed from a tax preparation business Mason and her ex-husband, Sanford Taylor Hobbs III, owned and operated in Everman in which they submitted inflated tax refunds to the Internal Revenue Service on behalf of clients. "No one actually said, 'Hey, you can't vote this year, '" she said.

Mason said in court that she would never intentionally jeopardize her freedom, and explained that her previous felony conviction was the result of "inflating" tax returns. "I was trying to get more money back for my clients". Mason's mother said, according to her attorney, J. Warren St. John, who spoke to NPR. I took accountability for that.

Ryan Cooper, national correspondent for The Week, compared the case of Mason, a black woman, with that of a white woman in Iowa who deliberately tried to cast two votes for President Donald Trump.

Almost 500,000 convicted felons in Texas were not allowed to vote in the 2016 election. You honestly think I would ever want to leave my babies again?

She continued, "I was happy enough to come home and see my daughter graduate". She was living under community supervision on Election Day, and authorities including her probation officer hadn't told her that she was not legally allowed to vote.

Mason grabbed her keys and set out for her local precinct. "My son is about to graduate", she told the prosecutor in court. As of 4:30 p.m. Friday, she also couldn't be reached by phone. The polling place where she voted did not find her name on the voter roll, so she was granted a provisional ballot. States differ in how voting rights are restored.

Mason has already appealed her conviction.

In February 2017, Rosa Maria Ortega of Grand Prairie, a Mexican national with a green card, was sentenced to eight years in prison after falsely claiming to be a US citizen on her ballot.

Other reports by AllAboutTopnews

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