Woman gets 5 years for illegally voting in 2016 presidential election

A Texas woman was sentenced to five years in prison this week following her conviction for illegally voting in the 2016 presidential election.

Crystal Mason, 43, of Tarrant County, Texas, is a convicted felon for tax fraud and voted while still on supervised release, the Dallas Morning News reported.

Texas law prohibits felons from voting until their full sentence, including supervised release, is served.

Mason opted for state District Judge Ruben Gonzalez to determine her sentence, instead of standing trial in front of a jury, the paper reported.

During testimony, Mason said she was given a provisional ballot at the polling station after learning that her name was not on the registered voter list. However, Gonzalez pressed Mason over the affidavit form she was required to sign to get the provisional ballot, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.

The affidavit form outlines the necessary requirements needed to vote, according to the Dallas Morning News.

Mason, who served just under three years in federal prison, argued she was never informed of the law that prevents felons from voting, and didn’t recall reading anything on the form that would exempt her from voting -- adding that she would never have voted had she known it would mean going back behind bars.

The 43-year-old said she voted only because her mother insisted, the Star-Telegram reported.

"I was happy enough to come home and see my daughter graduate," she said. "My son is about to graduate. Why would I jeopardize that? Not to vote. ... I didn't even want to go vote."

Immediately following the ruling, Mason’s attorney, J. Warren St. John, told the paper an appeal was filed and he hopes to have Mason released from custody on bond soon.

"I find it amazing that the government feels she made this up," St. John told the court. "She was never told that she couldn't vote, and she voted in good faith. Why would she risk going back to prison for something that is not going to change her life?”