No comprehensive data exist on charges or punishments in voting-related cases, whether they’re related to attempting to register or vote when someone isn’t allowed to, voting twice or voting under a false name. But a number of high-profile cases lately have involved harsh punishment of women of color, particularly Black women like Mason. They come as some Republicans, led by former President Donald Trump, attempt to spread unfounded fears of widespread voter fraud and scapegoat people of color. Voting rights advocates and experts worry that this focus on voter fraud prosecutions could disproportionately affect marginalized communities.
“This is all part of the cycle of voter suppression,” said Gilda Daniels, law professor and author of “Uncounted: The Crisis of Voter Suppression in America.” “We had high turnout in 2020, and instead of passing laws that increase or even celebrate turnout, there’s this onslaught of legislative activity that questions outcomes and creates new laws that criminalize voting.”