Mason v. Texas (original by judge mcclure iii)Annotate this Case
In 2018, Appellant Crystal Mason was convicted of illegal voting, then a second-degree felony, and sentenced to five years’ confinement. Appellant filed a petition for discretionary review to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, arguing that the court of appeals erred: (1) in holding that her unawareness about her ineligibility to vote “was irrelevant to her prosecution;” (2) by interpreting the Illegal Voting statute to criminalize the good faith submission of provisional ballots where individuals turn out to be incorrect about their eligibility to vote (contrary to the federal Help America Vote Act); and (3) by holding that Appellant “voted in an election” when she submitted a provisional ballot that was never counted. In a supplemental brief, Appellant argued that Senate Bill 1’s retroactive change to the Texas Election Code nullified her conviction. As to grounds two and three, the Court of Criminal Appeals held that the Help America Vote Act did not preempt the Illegal Voting statute, and that the court of appeals did not err by concluding that Appellant “voted.” However, as to ground one, the court below erred by failing to require proof that the Appellant had actual knowledge that it was a crime for her to vote while on supervised release. The case was remanded for that court to evaluate the sufficiency of the evidence under the correct interpretation of the statute.