Skip to main content

Charges: St. Paul councilor helped elderly woman cast election ballot

St. Paul City Council member Dai Thao is facing three charges.
  • Author:
  • Updated:

What's happened?

St. Paul City Council member Dai Thao has been charged with three election offenses after he allegedly helped an disabled senior fill out a ballot.

Thao was running in the St. Paul mayoral election won by Melvin Carter, and currently represents Ward 1 on the city council.

What did he allegedly do?

According to the criminal complaint, an election judge working at the Martin Luther King Recreation Center at 271 Mackubin St. saw a man he later identified as Thao entering a voting booth with an elderly woman and appearing to assist her with her ballot.

A complaint was made to the Ramsey County Elections Manager and was subsequently investigated by the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office at the request of St. Paul PD.

They spoke to the elderly woman he allegedly helped, who said she and other people had been approached by a man calling himself Mr. Xiong, who asked if she needed a ride to a voting station.

The woman, who has sight issues and does not speak much English, says the man explained each segment of the ballot paper after entering the voting booth with her.

He did not tell her how to vote, but he did physically fill out a ballot for her.

She subsequently identified to police that this Mr. Xiong was Dai Thao, and that he hadn't told her he was a mayoral candidate.

What does Thao say?

In interview with police, Thao admitted going into the voting booth with the woman and helped her fill out the ballot.

Speaking to the Pioneer Press on Tuesday, Thao's attorney says that while he may have helped someone vote, he doesn't believe he violated the law.

“The conduct of which Mr. Thao now stands accused is perfectly legal for virtually everyone in Minnesota. There is no allegation that Mr. Thao did anything intentionally wrong, or that he did anything wrong other than help one elderly woman overcome disabilities so that she could vote," he said in a statement.

Thao has been charged with one count of unlawfully marking a ballot, misconduct in a public polling place and unlawfully assisting a voter.

Next Up

Press Bar fire

Owner of St. Cloud bar gets 6 years for arson, ordered to repay $3M

A February 2020 fire at the Press Bar and Parlor was later determined to be an insurance job.


Bloomington, Richfield districts tighten security ahead of weekend football

Enhanced safety measures will be in place this weekend.

Screen Shot 2022-09-30 at 2.23.15 PM

Walz sends MN first responders to help with hurricane recovery in Florida

Eight members of the Minnesota All Hazards Incident Management Team will travel to Florida.


It was the driest September in Twin Cities modern history

Less than a quarter inch of rain fell in September.

Jay James Olson

Sauk Rapids man pleads guilty to making, selling ghost guns

The 21-year-old would sell unserialized guns, silencers, auto-sears, and high-capacity magazines.

Pixabay - gray squirrel

Squirrel blamed for Friday power outage impacting over 5,000 homes

There's no telling when or where the squirrels will strike next.

Screen Shot 2022-09-30 at 8.11.55 AM

Seattle man federally indicted in massive Bloomington fentanyl bust

The case is believed to represent the largest fentanyl bust in the Midwest.

Screen Shot 2022-09-30 at 9.27.53 AM

Nicollet Diner to launch new, expanded home with a drag show

The new location will still feature the diner's classic offerings, as well as a new cabaret venue and cocktail lounge.

police tape, crime scene

Woman found dead at Minneapolis home was stabbed multiple times

LaTiffany Altanette Lessley was found dead in a north Minneapolis home Tuesday.


Charges: Man beats elderly woman while a friend records it on video

The shocking incident at a south Minneapolis transit center has led to aggravated robbery charges.

Council member who made history will now run for mayor in St. Paul

Dai Thao became the first Hmong-American council member in St. Paul history.

Terrion Sherman

Man, 23, charged in brutal murder of young St. Paul woman

A 23-year-old St. Paul man is facing a second-degree murder charge.

Here's the guy charged with torching a St. Paul cop car

Brian Lee Liston is facing two felony charges.

Jessica Lynn White

Andover woman facing federal charges for arson during unrest in St. Paul

She is the latest to be charged in connection with last month's unrest.

Mother of slain St. Paul rapper: Stricter gun laws won't help

Melissa Johnson says her son wasn't a gang member, and was a friend to everyone.

Read the indictment against 13 Russians accused of interfering in 2016 elections

Deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein released the indictments on Friday.