Conservatives love their voter fraud conspiracy theories. It’s been an article of faith with them long before 2020 rolled around, which is part of why Trump’s Big Lie took hold in Republican’s minds the way it did. Frankly, I see how their “thinking” goes which is something along the lines of: WE do this all the time so DEMOCRATS must do it even more! Yes, it’s a massive lie they tell themselves but as I said it’s gospel to them. It therefore is no surprise that given a chance to convict a Democrat, a BLACK woman of voter “fraud” a Texas court jumped at the chance and hammered her in sentencing. Now that conviction has (grudgingly) been overturned by an appeals court.

For those not familiar with this infuriating chain of events here are the basics as reported by the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram:

Mason cast a provisional vote in the 2016 election while on a three-year supervised release related to a 2012 tax fraud conviction. Would-be voters uncertain about their eligibility can file provisional ballots instead of casting a regular one, leaving it to election officials to tally or toss the vote (Mason’s vote wasn’t counted).

Two years later, a state district judge found Mason guilty of voting illegally, sentencing her to five years in prison. Texas law forbids residents with felony judgments from voting until they’ve “finished the full terms of their sentence.” Mason and her attorneys argued that she had no knowledge of the rule and, as such, shouldn’t be held liable for violating it

Not included in the article are some important additional details. Mason had served ALL of her sentence. When released yes, she was told about some “supervision” but it seems not to have been what we think of as parole nor did she understand it that way. As far as she knew she’d paid her “debt to society” and wanted to move on and rebuild her life. At the urging of relatives she went ahead and cast a provisional ballot to vote, having sought guidance and being told she now had the right to vote again. As noted above, ultimately her ballot wasn’t counted. Also, from the time she was charged it was apparent she’d gotten incorrect information including from a county official on whether she could vote.

It didn’t matter to prosecutors where she lived. She by gawd was going to be made an example of! Race of course (so they claimed) had nothing at all to do with throwing the book at her. So Mason has been put through undeserved hell ever since, with the Texas ACLU fighting to exonerate her and the Texas “justice” system determined to make her suffer through FIVE YEARS of additional prison time. Appallingly, at the first appeals level in her case her conviction and sentence was upheld.  But finally, and probably because of the optics of state AG Ken Paxton getting a sweetheart deal the next higher appeals court grudgingly overturned her conviction. (Prosecutors can appeal that, but no word yet on whether they’ll try)

Why do I use the word grudgingly? Well, the first article left out a couple of things. So I’m going to call your attention to a short piece found on MSNBC’s Maddow Blog. The author (Steve Benen) provides some context. He begins citing a recent case that’s been drowned out by other news:

Brian Pritchard, the first vice chairman of the Georgia Republican Party, has earned a reputation as a prominent election denier. This made it all the more notable when a state judge this week concluded that Pritchard violated state election law after voting unlawfully — nine times.

I’ll give you three guesses on how Pritchard’s case was resolved but you only need one. He won’t do a single day in jail, much less a stint in prison. Nope, he’ll have to pay a $5k fine. Oh, and he’ll get a public “reprimand” from the Georgia election board.  By golly THAT will show him! And tell everyone how seriously the GOP takes voter fraud.  Benen goes on to note:

Over the last few years, this has happened with considerable frequency. Quite a few Republicans have been caught casting illegal ballots, and in practically every instance, they’ve received relatively light sentences.

I know, Republicans have a quite active gene for hypocrisy in their DNA. When one of theirs violates voting laws it was an oh so innocent mistake but if a Democrat, especially a black one actually makes an innocent mistake it’s VOTER FRAUD! LOCK HIM/HER UP! (the throw away the key seems to be optional) What’s really got my blood boiling though is that Benet cites part of the judge’s ruling which makes clear what he really thinks, and why I say Mason’s conviction was only GRUDGINGLY overturned:

The appeals court judge wasn’t fully satisfied with the defendant’s explanation, but Birdwell wrote that “finding Mason to be not credible — and disbelieving her protestation of actual knowledge — does not suffice as proof of guilt.”

“In the end, the State’s primary evidence was that Mason read the words on the affidavit,” Birdwell said.

So the judge literally wrote in his opinion he didn’t find Mason’s explanation “credible” and that he didn’t believe her “protestation of actual knowledge.” If he felt free to say what he I’m convince really wanted to say he’d have told Mason something like:

***Look you lying Democrat bitch. You’re just another lying n***er and as far as I’m concerned they should lock you up for good. But it would look pretty bad nowdays to do that, especially with what’s just happened over in Georgia and now here in Texas with Paxton and since the law actually doesn’t support your conviction I’m forced (under the strongest possible protest) to rule in your favor.***

If some conservative that lurks here takes offense, and even passes along my opinion of the judge to him I have zero f**ks to give. Come after me judge. I’ll gladly debate you on this.

The whole case, right up through Mason’s exoneration drips with racism. And as I’ve said GOP hypocrisy. To anyone, whether firmly on our side or in the middle trying to decide which way to vote this fall take a good, hard look at the GOP and their maniacal attempts to prevent people, at least unless they are solid Republicans from casting a ballot. Abortion rights aren’t the only thing on the ballot this year. So is the very right to cast a vote and have that vote counted!

Well, at least Crystal Mason can enjoy a nice weekend with her family. Let’s just hope for her sake this is truly over, and that prosecutors don’t do what the judge seems (to me at least) encouraged him to do and appeal.

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  1. “Since the law actually doesn’t support your conviction I’m forced (under the strongest possible protest) to rule in your favor.”

    There needed to be absolutely no further comment added by anyone, least of all the judge. If the case is wrong in law, that should be the end of it. The judge, like ‘the system’ appears clearly to be racist.

    I just hope that, in this case, that this is the beginning of a wrongful conviction suit against the state and a huge payout for her in just compensation for her ordeal.

    • The laws in texass are generally ignored whenever some rwnj judge decides to ignore them…pretty much always. Example A being paxton.

      You’re right tho’: Ms. Mason needs to go after these silly f*cks by going after their pocketbooks and/or state budget.


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