A new New York Times article continues to falsely paint a picture of a voting system that is designed to crush women and minority voters.
In fact, the article, “Her Ballot Didn’t Count. She Faces 5 Years in Prison for Casting It”, highlights how so-called “systemic” reforms can help foster more voter fraud with few penalties accruing to attempted fraudsters. As a result, legal voters are being disenfranchised, regardless of gender or race.
At issue is a provisional ballot cast in Texas in 2016 by Crystal Mason that was disallowed. Mason, 46, “was a felon on probation when she cast her ballot” in the U.S. presidential election according to the New York Times.
The provisional ballot Crystal Mason cast in the 2016 election was never tallied, but she was convicted of illegal voting. Now, her case is headed to the highest criminal appeals court in Texas — her last hope of avoiding prison. https://t.co/z7RDDwmVfq
— NYT Politics (@nytpolitics) April 4, 2021
But under Texas law, persons convicted of any felony are not allowed to vote.
Subsequently, Mason was convicted for voter fraud and now faces a five-year sentence. She is appealing the sentence to the highest Texas criminal court after a lower court affirmed the conviction and sentence.
The New York Times and Mason’s attorney claim, however, that she shouldn’t be convicted of fraud because she didn’t know that as a felon she was not allowed to vote in Texas.
Perhaps that’s because few felons are prosecuted for illegal voting even though the practice seems widespread in Texas.
Local TV ABC News affiliate WFAA found in a 2019 analysis that hundreds if not thousands of convicted felons voted in the Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston and San Antonio areas in the 2018 mid-term election. Many felons simply re-registered to vote after being purged from the voter rolls.
At the same time, only 16 felons have been prosecuted in the past decade for illegally voting, according to the WFAA report.
“It’s troubling that people are re-registering,” County Judge Clay Jenkins told WFAA. “I’m not shifting the blame off people who are re-registering because they have no business doing that while they are serving sentence as a felon.”
So it seems the danger hasn’t been that felons are being ruthlessly prosecuted by the state for illegally voting, but just the opposite. Felons are being prosecuted too infrequently to serve as a real deterrent.
What’s more, legal voters are having their votes invalidated by illegally cast votes. And the state, despite having the means to prevent and discover illegal voting, are largely ignoring the illegal votes, thus encouraging more voter fraud and undermining the confidence in the poll.
Sadly, they are also sending people like Mason to jail who might have avoided it if she had known how severe the penalty was if caught.