A Black woman in Memphis was convicted in November 2021 for trying to register to vote illegally in 2019. Earlier this week, she was sentenced to six years and one day in prison, according to ABC24.
This conviction has caused some outrage among those who have been fighting against voter suppression since the validity of the 2020 election came into question by former President Donald Trump and other people, mostly Republicans.
According to Newsweek, Pamela Moses, the woman sentenced, is a Black Lives Matter activist. She has 16 prior felony convictions and tried to register to vote while she was on probation, which is illegal.
On April 29, 2015, she pled guilty to tampering with evidence and forgery, both felonies, and to misdemeanor counts of perjury, stalking, theft under $500 and escape. She was placed on probation after seven years.
Under the law, she was also rendered infamous because of her felony convictions and lost her rights of citizenship, including her right to vote. She was permanently deemed ineligible to register and vote in Tennessee because of the tampering with evidence conviction.
Proof at her trial last November showed that on Sept. 3, 2019, Moses filed a certificate of restoration and application for voter registration with the Shelby County Election Commission, falsely asserting that her sentence had expired and that she was eligible to register to vote.
However, Moses was still serving her 2015 sentence on probation at the time she filed the restoration documents.
The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund has denounced Moses’ conviction in a statement on Twitter.
The Twitter statement reads, “Pamela Moses, a Black woman, has been sentenced to six years in prison because of a voting error. Meanwhile, white individuals who are known to have committed blatant voter fraud have only received probation.”
It adds, “There are two criminal justice systems in America.”
Moses, the founder of Black Lives Matter Memphis, maintained during her sentencing hearing that she still thought her voting rights were restored in 2019 when she tried to register.
“I did not falsify anything. All I did was try to get my rights to vote back the way the people at the election commission told me and the way the clerk did,” she said.
The judge who sentenced Moses, Judge Mark Ward, accused Moses of deceiving officials into giving the documents that would allow her to register, according to WREG.