Pamela Moses sentenced to six years in prison for voting fraud after Tennessee said she was eligible – The Washington Post

Moses, a Black Lives Matter activist and former Democratic mayoral candidate in Memphis, had an extensive record of felony convictions, including a conviction for tampering with evidence that caused her to permanently lose her voting rights in the state. To restore rights that she says she didn’t know she had lost when she pleaded guilty, the corrections department and county election commission both signed off on Moses’s voter registration application in 2019 certifying that her probation had ended, granting her full voting privileges once again.

Moses has maintained that she thought her voting rights were restored when she received a letter saying as much, noting in court, “I did not falsify anything.” Her defense only angered Criminal Court Judge W. Mark Ward, who said she had intentionally deceived probation officials to restore her voting rights.

Neither Ward nor a spokesperson with the Shelby County District Attorney’s Office, which prosecuted Moses’s case, immediately responded to requests for comment Friday. Ward said he would consider placing Moses on probation after nine months of her sentence if she maintains good behavior and completes programs while in prison, reported WHBQ.

Moses’s sentencing comes weeks after the year-long Democratic push for federal voting rights legislation died in the Senate, as Republicans blocked an elections bill for the fifth time in six months and Democrats failed to unite their caucus behind a plan to rewrite the Senate’s rules and pass it anyway. The push from Democrats would have restored portions of the 1965 Voting Rights Act that were struck down in recent years by the Supreme Court, and would have established new national standards for federal elections, including minimum requirements for early voting, mail-in voting and other methods making it easier to cast ballots.

One of the most serious incidents was when Moses pleaded guilty in 2015 to a 10-count indictment, including perjury and tampering with evidence. She allegedly stalked and harassed a Shelby County judge between February and March 2014 by impersonating a lawyer and notary public in an effort to file a complaint against the judge, according to the Memphis Commercial Appeal. Moses was given an eight-year suspended sentence, and the judge in that case ordered that she serve the time on probation.

Moses went on to found a local Black Lives Matter chapter in Memphis and eventually launched a long-shot bid to become the city’s mayor in 2019. But it wasn’t until she found out she couldn’t be on the ballot that she realized she was still on probation and ineligible to vote. After the court confirmed that she was still on probation, Circuit Court Judge Felicia Corbin Johnson said she was “going to allow the criminal court to make an official determination of whether or not Ms. Moses’s sentence has been completed and expired,” according to WATN.

At her sentencing hearing in December, Ward, a 2004 appointee of then-Gov. Phil Bredesen (D), criticized Moses, saying she had “voted six times as a convicted felon” after her 2015 conviction. Character witnesses supporting Moses remarked that “it would be a shame to waste her good traits which can be so beneficial to her family and her community by being in a jail,” according to local media.