Every day Crystal Mason is in jail is further proof of how racist and sexist the country’s criminal justice system is. The latest evidence came when another man who illegally voted received no jail time. That was in contrast to Mason, who was serving 10 months in federal prison then facing five years in state prison — all while voting on supervised release — for a 2016 provisional ballot that wasn’t even counted.
Datwaon Collier, 28, of Anderson, Indiana, who appears to be African American according to public records, is at the center of this latest instance. According to the Herald Bulletin, Rebecca Crumes, who was seeking the Democratic Party nomination for the District 36 seat in the Indiana House last year, paid “Collier $30 for gas money to drive around and collect registrations in Anderson. When interviewed by May, Collier said Crumes registered him to vote and asked if he knew other people who needed to register. Collier said Crumes offered him $1 for every person that he registered.”
Collier allegedly used names from his cell phone, made up the addresses and signed the forms. The 28-year-old said he didn’t know he was committing a crime and apologized to Crumes.
The Herald Bulletin reported that he will serve “12 months on probation after pleading guilty to 30 misdemeanor counts of voter fraud.” He must also complete 50 hours of community service.
Collier not going to jail was the right call, but that type of judicial discretion should clearly also apply to Mason, a mother of three, who was sentenced twice — once for violating state law and once for violating federal law.
First, she was sentenced in March 2018 to serve five years in prison for violating Texas’ voter laws. As a former convict at the time, she was ineligible to vote under state regulations. By casting a provisional ballot in the November 2016 election, she was in violation of a law that many ex-convicts are unaware of.
That state voter fraud conviction led to a federal judge giving Mason the second sentence in August to 10 months in prison plus probation for violating the terms of her supervised release from federal prison for tax fraud.
There is deep hypocrisy in how Mason is being treated, considering a white woman from Iowa named Terri Lynn Rote was convicted of voter fraud for purposely trying to cast a ballot for President Donald Trump twice. She was only sentenced to two years probation and a $750 fine. In addition, the district attorney who prosecuted Mason, Sharen Wilson, reportedly asked her staff for personal contact information and then used it to solicit funds for her re-election bid, according to Appeal.org. Legal experts disagreed whether that was a criminal offense, but there is also ambiguity on if Mason actually broke the law or not—yet the 43-year-old is being harshly punished.
You can click here to sign the petition for her to be released.