AUSTIN, Texas – A previously incarcerated man will have his name on the ballot in a run for City Council after the city clerk dropped the challenge to his application.
Lewis Conway Jr. is now the first person in Texas to run for public office despite being formerly imprisoned.
Conway filed his application to run for Austin City Council District 1 on Monday, July 23. Then, on Aug. 17, City Clerk Jannette Goodall questioned if Conway’s name could legally be on the ballot. On Aug. 21, Goodall dropped the challenge to Conway’s application.
According to Texas law, anyone with a felony conviction is required to be “released form resulting disabilities” to run for office. However, there is no clarification about what constitutes “resulting disabilities,” therefore allowing Conway to land on the ballot.
Conway is a civil rights advocate who self identifies as a Democratic Socialist.
“I am happy that Austin is standing up for the nearly four million Texans affected by our criminal justice system,” said Conway. "Our campaign is about more than just an election--it’s about diversity in leadership, belief in a fair chance, and bringing the sentence to an end. I have been released from parole and my voting rights have been restored. I have served my time and now I am ready to serve my community.”