Well-funded Left-wing activists are embarking on a new strategy: Convince the public that convicted voter fraud perpetrators are actually civil rights martyrs. The truth is that Texas grandmother Crystal Mason violated the law twice. While the nation took in the Kavanaugh spectacle on Thursday, Mason was reporting to federal prison for parole violations and voter fraud.
The Guardian moved quickly to highlight her “plight,” and to elevate her as the “poster child for voter suppression.” The Brit paper embraced tired “voting-while-black” hysterics:
Mason’s crime was to cast a ballot in the 2016 presidential election. An African American woman, she had been encouraged by her mother to do her civic duty and vote, in her case on behalf of Hillary Clinton.
Mason’s lawyer told the outlet that Texas’ prosecution of voter fraud was indeed an “act of voter intimidation.” Prosecution is now an unlawful act, and recidivism is a qualifier for canonization. Such conflicting messages are emblematic of where the organized Left stands in the face of increasing defeat in election integrity legal battles.
Here’s the truth: Over a four-year period, Crystal Mason used her family-owned tax preparation business to pilfer $4.2 million from American citizens. Along with her then-husband and employees, Mason prepared and filed approximately 788 fraudulent tax returns, allowing her to pocket millions in bogus refunds and excess fees.
Mason was caught. Her tax license was suspended. But she didn’t relent: She instead recruited her sister-in-law to keep the scheme going.
Mason didn’t make “mistakes”; she didn’t just fudge a few numbers. She acted intentionally and deliberately to defraud. According to the sentencing court, her scheme was “sophisticated” and “extensive,” involving “hundreds of taxpayers,” “multiple banks,” and “three different offices.” There was “no question,” wrote U.S. District Judge John McBryde, that Mason was a “leader and organizer” of the conspiracy.
With the deck stacked against her, Mason pleaded guilty. Factoring in her role as ring-leader and the scheme’s high level of sophistication, the court handed Mason the maximum sentence — five years in prison, followed by a three-year term of supervised release.
Mason’s conviction made her ineligible to vote during the entirety of her sentence.
But she did anyway.
Mason cast a ballot in the 2016 presidential election while still serving out her supervised release for the 2011 federal tax fraud case. In the Lone Star State, committing voter fraud in its various forms is a jail-time felony. Based on Mason’s criminal record, Texas justifiably threw the book at her, sentencing her to five years in prison.
Mason claimed in her voter fraud defense that she was simply unaware of the rules and felt pressure from family to mistakenly cast a ballot in such a momentous election. The Huffington Post dutifully parroted the defense that it wasn’t Mason’s responsibility, writing: “[N]o one at the polling place tried to stop her.” What do you think the Huffington Post would have reported if someone did try to “stop” a black woman from voting in Texas?
Mason even fingered her parole officer for not thoroughly advising her that parolees cannot vote.
The media aftermath ranged from begrudging reporting on another voter fraud case to full-blown hysterics. Editors and pundits wondered if Texas law went too far. Should we let felons vote? Can’t we let this mistake slide?
The “mistake” excuse requires the belief that one can vote by accident, and that Crystal Mason is a highly suggestive dullard. Her rap sheet, of course, indicates she is anything but. Let’s examine the steps Mason undertook.
First, Mason had to make the conscious decision to vote. She arranged some form of transportation to the correct polling place based on her residence. Upon check-in, she was advised that she was not registered to vote (which should have been a clue that something was amiss). Mason then needed to declare her intent to vote provisionally. That decision required she sign subsequent paperwork, where she affirmed in writing (emphasis original):
I am a registered voter of this political subdivision and in the precinct in which I’m attempting to vote and have not already voted in this election (either in person or by mail). I am a resident of this political subdivision, have not been finally convicted of a felony or if a felon, I have completed all of my punishment including any term of incarceration, parole, supervision, period of probation, or I have been pardoned … I understand that giving false information under oath is a misdemeanor, and I understand that it is a felony of the 2nd degree to vote in an election for which I know I am not eligible.
Someone who ran a sophisticated scam that bilked the IRS out of $4.2 million does not get to credibly claim the poor reading comprehension defense.
Still, the Issue Isn’t the Issue
For those trying to capitalize on Mason’s case, she is simply a prop in a larger effort.
The organized Left is losing on critical legal battlefronts over election integrity. The country is waking up to the noncitizen voter madness that Bill Clinton’s Motor Voter law has wrought.
The Supreme Court dealt a rib-cracking body blow to legal theories that would handcuff states from removing dead and relocated registrants from voter rolls. Texas’ voter ID law stands. Polls show North Carolina is poised to enact a similar law via constitutional vote in November 2018. California can’t even get its automatic registration system to sign new voters up correctly. It’s so bad, even the Los Angeles Times is worried that noncitizens are illegally registering.
Ranking members of the voter integrity resistance are admitting in their safe spaces like Netroots Nation how they lost the “narrative,” and need to “reclaim” it. One panelist even suggested to an almost empty room that perhaps they purge the term “voter fraud” from their vocabulary. Another panelist stood firm, however. Myrna Perez from the Brennan Center said felon re-enfranchisement efforts will have a “huge transformative effect” on the electoral landscape. The Left believes it can win hearts and minds with Alinsky Rule 4 flavor: what freedom-loving American would deprive the voice of fellow Americans?
Crystal Mason serves as a face with grandchildren you can root for, as long as you ignore the facts about her life. But, she also marks a new chapter for the Resistance. Not long ago, voter fraud was “non-existent.” When cases started to stack up, deniers pivoted: Fraud became “rare,” or “not widespread.”
Eventually the failures of Motor Voter came to light in multiple states in relatively rapid succession. When the Jeff Sessions DOJ got back into the prosecution business, with ICE in tow, general quarters were sounded among the Soros check-cashers.
The rules of engagement are changing for the Left. Instead of fighting over how much voter fraud there is — or what kind of laws should be considered to prevent it in the future — Resistance forces will now move against law enforcement itself. It’s already happening.
When the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina teamed up with ICE to probe the jurisdiction for election records potentially revealing unprosecuted fraud, one local Left-wing group reportedly started prepping a legal “memo” (translation: threat of a lawsuit) to scare election officials from complying with federal subpoenas after the upcoming midterms.
Demonizing law enforcement and the criminal justice system is nothing new for the Left. They’ve seen it work in some instances. We will now see prosecutors accused of “fishing expeditions,” county clerks become co-conspirators to violate minority voting rights, and sentencing courts called out for disparities in punishment.
And what of those convicted of election crimes? Accidental martyrs caught “voting while black,” “voting while felon,” “voting while noncitizen,” and more.
Crystal Mason serves as a trial balloon that asks: “Do we really want to punish people for voting?” The answer is simple: we will not decriminalize fraud.