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Austin City Clerk Challenges Convicted Felon's Eligibility To Run For City Council

Gabriel C. Pérez
Lewis Conway Jr. addresses the public after filing to run for the Austin City Council on July 23. Conway was convicted of a felony in 1993.

Lewis Conway Jr., a candidate for Austin City Council who has a felony record, may not be able to run after all.

Austin City Clerk Jannette Goodall sent Conway an email Friday challenging his eligibility and asking for documents that he had been pardoned or "otherwise released from the disabilities" resulting from his conviction.

Conway served eight years in prison after fatally stabbing a man during an altercation in 1991. After completing 12 years of probation, he had his voting rights restored.

Conway filed papers to run for the District 1 City Council seat last month. Ora Houston, who currently represents the East Austin district, announced in June that she was not seeking re-election.  

Citing Texas election code, the state has said Conway is ineligible to run for public office.

The code states candidates must "have not been finally convicted of a felony from which the person has not been pardoned or otherwise released from the resulting disabilities."

“Based on the information we have been provided about Lewis Conway, Jr., he is not eligible to run for or hold office in the State of Texas,” Sam Taylor, communications director for the Texas Secretary of State Office, wrote in an email last month. “We are not aware of Mr. Conway having received a pardon or a declaration from a court in the State of Texas indicating that he is eligible to hold public office in Texas despite being finally convicted of a felony.”

Conway met with the Austin City Attorney’s Office on Monday to present documents making a case for his eligibility.

Audrey McGlinchy is KUT's housing reporter. She focuses on affordable housing solutions, renters’ rights and the battles over zoning. Got a tip? Email her at Follow her on Twitter @AKMcGlinchy.
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