Crystal Mason in her Tarrant County home.

This piece originally appeared at the Washington Post.

I’ve lived in Tarrant County, Tex., my entire life. I grew up in my granny’s house in a neighborhood where folks would take care of us when Granny and my mom were at work. Our entire street was pretty much like a family.

The suburban neighborhood where I live now is a good community, too, despite the folks who attend the church across the street with Confederate flags decorating their trucks. But I worked hard to get here. I promised myself that I would buy a home and build a better future for my kids, and I did it.

This is also the community where I was arrested and charged with illegal voting in 2016. After a one-day trial, a judge sentenced me to five years in prison for submitting a provisional ballot, even though it was never counted.

The whole thing felt like a nightmare. I kept thinking there had been a mistake. Never did I think casting a ballot was something that could get you in trouble.

Continue reading at the Washington Post

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