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Texas woman acquitted of voter fraud in high profile case says it's her 'duty' to continue voting rights advocacy

Crystal Mason's five-year sentence for voting illegally in the 2016 election was thrown out by a state appeals court Thursday.
illegal voting
Crystal Mason at Tim Curry Justice Center in Fort Worth, Texas, in 2018.Max Faulkner / Fort Worth Star-Telegram via Getty Images file

The Texas woman whose five-year sentence for voter fraud was thrown out by an appeals court Thursday said she plans to strengthen her efforts to promote voting rights.

“If anything we are ramping up now that I have been acquitted. There will be no stopping of any kind,” Crystal Mason said in a statement Friday to NBC News.

“Stopping now would mean my story doesn’t have legs, leverage and longevity,” she added. “It’s more than a passion, I feel it’s my duty.”

Mason was sentenced to prison in 2018 for voting illegally in the 2016 election, but testified that she did not know that she was ineligible to vote after being convicted of tax fraud in 2011. She said she had cast a provisional ballot with the help of a poll worker. Her ballot was ultimately not counted when officials determined that she was not eligible to vote.

Her case garnered national attention, and an appeals court ultimately overturned her sentence. Second District Appeals Court Justice Wade Birdwell wrote in his decision Thursday that “finding Mason to be not credible — and disbelieving her protestation of actual knowledge — does not suffice as proof of guilt.”

In 2021, Mason founded Crystal Mason The Fight, a nonprofit that she described as “a testament to what black and brown people face not only with voter suppression but oppression in general.”

Mason said the organization has helped her “become an advocate for voter education, voter registration and voting rights as a whole.”

And now that she's been acquitted, Mason said she is more inspired to push forward.

Mason said that “over 90% of my family members are now deputized registrars.” At “both local and national elections we are on the streets, in the communities educating, knocking doors and ensuring people exercise their rights.”

During an interview Friday on MSNBC, Mason said that her message to Americans is to “know your rights.” She emphasized that she does not want her story to scare voters, but instead “encourage you to go to the polls.”

Mason, who had been out of prison on an appeal bond, said that Thursday's acquittal was still sinking in.

“I'm overwhelmed with joy,” she said. “And it's setting in on me as I speak now that I am actually free, I am no longer facing going to prison.”