Pamela Moses, a Black Lives Matter activist from Memphis, Tennessee, has been sentenced to six years in prison for illegally registering to vote in 2019.
Moses, 44, was sentenced earlier this week in Shelby County Criminal Court by Judge Mark Ward. Ward sentenced Moses to six years and one day but said if she completes programs in prison and “maintains good behavior,” he would consider placing her on probation after nine months.
In 2015, Moses pleaded guilty to two felonies and three misdemeanors. She was placed on probation for seven years. The felony convictions made her permanently ineligible to vote in Tennessee.
In 2019, Moses ran for Memphis mayor before being told by Shelby County Elections officials that she couldn’t appear on the ballot because of her felony. While looking into her eligibility, the officials also realized she had never been taken off of the voting rolls, according to The Guardian.
Moses then went to court and asked a judge to clarify whether she was still on probation. The court confirmed that she was, after which she went to the local probation office and asked an officer to figure out if the judge had calculated her sentence correctly. An officer filled out and signed a certificate confirming her probation had ended, and Moses submitted that document to local election officials along with a voter registration form.
An official at the corrections department later contacted the election officials and said that officer had made an error- Moses was still serving an active felony sentence and was not eligible to vote. Moses was later charged and sentenced for trying to register to vote, not for actually casting a ballot.
Moses said in an interview with The Guardian that when she pleaded guilty to the felonies in 2015, she was unaware that would make her ineligible to vote.
Moses’ attorney, Bede Anyanwu, said Friday that he has filed a motion for a new trial, and that a hearing on the motion has been set for Feb. 20.
“We are not giving up on this, and Ms. Moses plans to fight,” he said.