City Council on Thursday approved an amendment to the City code that creates additional requirements for verifying the residency of candidates running for public office.

In addition to living in the state for at least 12 months and within the boundaries of the district individuals seek to represent for at least six months, all applicants must now provide two of the following: valid voter registration certificate, current utility bill, current bank statement, government check, original paycheck, or other government-issued document with name and address.

Councilman John Courage (D9) presented the motion in July after multiple concerns were raised regarding candidates running in the 2017 election cycle. Councilman Manny Pelaez’s (D8) residency in the district was scrutinized during his run, and a lawsuit was filed in the District 9 race after it was discovered that a candidate’s primary residency was in Austin.

“I brought this forward [because] in my particular race for City Council there was a fraudulent application that was put in for someone who wanted to run for the same seat,” Courage said. “Apparently an oath is not reliable enough with some people when they sign a document swearing they live where they do.”

The motion received unanimous support from the Council. It also appeared to receive the support of Jack Finger, a staple figure in Council Chambers best known for decrying the government entity’s many alleged scandals.

“I don’t think any of these [new requirements] are beyond a typical person’s ability to produce,” Courage said. “And if this is part of our code and its provided ahead of time … it shouldn’t create any barrier to any legitimate candidate being able to file for any office in the city.”

Jeffrey Sullivan

Jeffrey Sullivan is a Rivard Report reporter. He graduated from Trinity University with a degree in Political Science.