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

St. Paul City Council member Dai Thao is facing three charges.

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


Belle Plaine man dies after duck boat capsizes on lake

One man was found sitting on the overturned boat while another man was in the water.

Screen Shot 2020-11-29 at 4.59.51 PM

Watch: Adam Thielen watches end of Vikings/Panthers just like all of us

The Vikings receiver looked like a true fan on Sunday afternoon.

Chad Beebe

Chad Beebe's roller-coaster fourth-quarter keeps Vikings playoff hopes alive

A muffed punt and a game-winning touchdown helped defeat the Panthers on Sunday afternoon.


West-central MN cops warn kids to stay off ice, or 'Santa won't come'

This comes amid repeated ice warnings across the state.

covid-19, coronavirus, PPE

Nov. 29 COVID-19 update: 57 deaths, nearly 9,000 more cases

Nearly 100,000 tests were included in Sunday's report.

jim ramstad

Watch former Rep. Jim Ramstad's memorial service online

The ceremony will be live-streamed for the public on Sunday.


How high can Rashod Bateman go in the 2021 NFL Draft?

The Gophers star receiver has plenty of praise heading into next April.

TCF Bank Stadium

15 more from Gopher football team test positive for COVID-19

That brings the total number of cases from this outbreak to 40.

Teddy Bridgewater

5 questions for Vikings-Panthers Week 12 NFC battle

The Vikings welcome Teddy Bridgewater back to U.S. Bank Stadium on Sunday.

police lights

Shelter-in-place in Albert Lea after police officer shot in the chest

The officer was able to drive to an emergency room.


St. Paul officer shoots man who got out of dumpster, ran towards police

A report says the man was naked and had a steak knife.

Screen Shot 2020-11-28 at 6.58.11 PM

Gophers dominate second half to defeat Loyola-Marymount

Marcus Carr scored 26 to send the Gophers to 2-0.


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.

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.

Charges: MN councilor groped woman's breasts in bar

He told police the allegation was because he's a "political target."

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.

Screen Shot 2019-08-19 at 8.08.05 PM

Woman shot dead, another injured on St. Paul's West Side

It's the 26th homicide this year in St. Paul.