St. Paul Council winner declared: Dai Thao is panel's 1st Hmong-American

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A week after the votes were cast, Ramsey County elections officials have declared a winner in St. Paul's Ward 1 Council race: Dai Thao, who will become the panel's first Hmong-American member.

The information technology manager who moved to St. Paul's Frogtown neighborhood from the North End two years ago, defeated six other candidates in the race, the Pioneer Press reports.

"The voters, they believed in the vision that we put forth – that our diversity is our strength," Dai Thao told the Pioneer Press. "Our lives are interconnected. We want progress in the ward."

St. Paul uses ranked-choice voting, which relies on voters to choose multiple candidates, ranked in order. Because no clear winner emerged after the first-choice votes were counted in the Ward 1 contest, a vote "reallocation" was required, in which candidates with the least votes are eliminated one by one and second- and third-choice votes are redistributed to remaining candidates.

Ramsey County officials had planned all along to do any necessary redistributions on the Monday after Election Day.

In the end, it was a close race. When all the votes were redistributed, Dai Thao had 1,970 votes and Noel Nix had 1,722. Here's the pdf with the results of the reallocation.

Dai Thao will take a Council seat vacated by Melvin Carter III, who took a job with the Minnesota Education Department.

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