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Austin city clerk challenges convicted felon’s eligibility to run for City Council

Tuesday, August 21, 2018 by Audrey McGlinchy, KUT

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 showing 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. Council Member Ora Houston, who currently represents the East Austin district, announced in June that she is 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 Office of the Secretary of State, 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.

This story was produced as part of the Austin Monitor’s reporting partnership with KUT. Photo by Gabriel Cristóver Pérez/KUT News.

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