A forty-three-year-old black mother, Crystal Mason of Tarrant County, Texas, has been sentenced to five years in prison for voter fraud, though her attorney now has filed an appeal. BET explains she
was on supervised release for tax fraud after serving nearly three years in federal prison. While she was on her release, her mother insisted she exercise her civic duty of voting in the crucial election, the Star-Telegram reported.
However, Mason was unaware that convicted felons are not allowed to register to vote in Texas, and voting their rights can be restored only after the sentence, including a supervised release, has been completed.
When Mason arrived at her polling place, the workers could not find her name on the list of registered voters, so a poll worker handed her a provisional ballot.
The poll worker gave Mason an affidavit listing the conditions required to vote. Mason signed the document and voted.
A poll worker later reported problems with Mason’s ballot which prompted an investigation, the district attorney's office spokesperson Samantha Jordan told the Dallas Morning News.
Mason, who was originally served time for a 2011 conviction for inflating returns, said she has “owned up” to her crime and she would never intentionally put herself in a position to go back to jail.
"I inflated returns," Mason told the Telegram. "I was trying to get more money back for my clients. I admitted that. I owned up to that. I took accountability for that. I would never do that again. I was happy enough to come home and see my daughter graduate. My son is about to graduate. Why would I jeopardize that? Not to vote. ... I didn't even want to go vote."
As BET notes, several people, including but not limited to a superb news host and the president of the NAACP, tweeted about Mason, in some instances drawing a contrast to a white Republican woman sentenced to probation for trying to vote twice for Donald Trump in Iowa.
But one organization is glaringly absent from the individuals and groups righteously outraged at this effort to depress voting and imprison someone up for something relatively innocuous.
That would be Black Lives Matter, the first page of whose website includes
The Black Lives Matter Global Network is a chapter-based, member-led organization whose mission is to build local power and to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes.
Apparently, the Network does not want to interfere with the "violence" or discrimination inflicted by the state of Texas. It continues
We affirm the lives of Black queer and trans folks, disabled folks, undocumented folks, folks with records, women, and all Black lives along the gender spectrum. Our network centers those who have been marginalized within Black liberation movements.
Evidently, their network does not center on blacks whose votes are being suppressed. Their rant continues
We are working for a world where Black lives are no longer systematically targeted for demise.
We affirm our humanity, our contributions to this society, and our resilience in the face of deadly oppression.
The oppression they affirm does not include oppression of the right to cast a ballot.
Despite President Trump finally shutting down Kris Kobach's fraudulent voter fraud commission, GOP efforts to abort voting rights continues, and would be a concern to any organization truly dedicated to black empowerment.
So, too, would unusually punitive criminal justice practices in specific states. As with much of the effort among politicians and others toward criminal justice reform, among politicians and others, Black Lives Matter seems blissfully unaware that not all states, unlike people, are created equal. Both law enforcement and courts vary from state-to-state, and it is no coincidence that Crystal Mason was abused in Texas (video from 1/23/17).
Inarguably, black lives matter. Arguably, Black Lives Matter shouldn't.