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Texas woman sentenced to 5 years in prison for illegally voting in 2016 election

Crystal Mason was sentenced to five years in prison in Texas for illegally voting in the 2016 election. (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato)

A Texas woman who voted illegally in the 2016 election received a five-year prison sentence on Wednesday.

Crystal Mason, 43, had been on supervised release stemming from a fraud conviction in 2011, reports Fort Worth Star-Telegram, when she and her ex-husband pleaded guilty to inflating tax refunds sent to the Internal Revenue Service.

People convicted of felonies in Texas, reports the Dallas Morning News, cannot vote even if they’re on supervised release.

Mason, from Rendon outside Fort Worth, claims she was never told she couldn’t vote until she finished her sentence, reports the Star-Telegram. The polling place where she voted did not find her name on the voter roll, so she was granted a provisional ballot. She was told to sign an affidavit, which stated, among other requirements, that an eligible voter not be a felon or they must have served their full sentence, according to the Morning News. The Star-Telegram reports Mason said she “did not carefully read the form because an election official was helping her.”

Mason explained to the Star-Telegram she had no intention to risk her freedom in order to vote.

“I inflated returns,” she said. “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.”