ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) - St. Paul City Councilman Dai Thao came in third in the race to be St. Paul’s new mayor, but that may be the least of his problems the day after the election. Fox 9 has learned a criminal investigation is underway into Thao assisting a voter with casting a vote.
The incident happened at the Martin Luther King Recreation Center in St. Paul on Monday, where there was early voting.
St. Paul Police have passed the investigation on to the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office to avoid a conflict of interest. Thao is currently a St. Paul City Council member.
Multiple sources tell Fox 9, the investigation concerns Thao assisting a voter cast their vote, but it is unclear whether Thao’s assistance was inside the voting booth, or if his assistance was requested, and why.
The complaint was filed by Ramsey County Elections Manager Joe Mansky, who referred all questions to law enforcement.
Contacted by phone this morning, Thao declined to make a comment. He said he would release a statement, but that statement only congratulated Melvin Carter, who won the St. Paul mayoral race.
It is illegal under state law for a candidate to enter a voting booth with a voter. Under Minnesota Statute 204C.15, a voter who needs assistance because of language or physical limitations may seek the aid of two election judges who are members of different major political parties. The voter may also seek the assistance of any individual they choose. But Minnesota election laws specifically state there are some individuals who may not provide assistance and they include the voter’s employer, someone from the voter’s union, or a candidate for election.