As Tam and Thien Doan tried to file for absentee ballots in Iowa in 2020, they were surprised to find out that votes had already been cast in their names. The siblings, both Democrats, were even more astonished to learn that their ballots had been cast in support of Republican candidates only, including President Donald Trump, according to court testimony.
Alex Constantine - December 14, 2023
By Timothy Bella - Washington Post, November 22, 2023
Kim Phuong Taylor was convicted Tuesday of 52 counts of voter fraud, the Justice Department announced. A federal jury in Sioux City, Iowa, found Taylor, 49, guilty on 26 charges of false information in registering and voting, 23 charges of fraudulent voting and three charges of fraudulent registration.
Taylor carried out a scheme to fraudulently generate votes for her husband, Woodbury County Supervisor Jeremy Taylor, who was challenging Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) in the June 2020 GOP congressional primary election. After Jeremy Taylor finished a distant third in that race, Kim Phuong Taylor again engaged in ballot fraud to help her husband’s successful reelection campaign as county supervisor, prosecutors say.
“[Kim Phuong] Taylor submitted or caused others to submit dozens of voter registrations, absentee ballot request forms, and absentee ballots containing false information,” the Justice Department wrote in a news release. “Taylor completed and signed voter forms without voters’ permission and told others that they could sign on behalf of relatives who were not present.”
The story was first reported by Iowa Public Radio.
Neither Jeremy Taylor nor F. Montgomery Brown, Kim Phuong Taylor’s attorney, immediately responded to requests for comment Wednesday. Jeremy Taylor said in a statement to KCAU, an ABC affiliate in Sioux City, that although the conviction was not the outcome for which the family was hoping, the family respects the court for hearing his wife’s story.
“While I plan to continue making decisions that are best for our county’s families, my first priority right now is to deal with today’s results as a private matter in order to be there for my own family, my wife and our children,” he said.
While many Americans, especially Republicans, have been increasingly fearful that voter fraud is affecting the outcome of elections, it remains extremely rare in the United States, as The Washington Post’s Fact Checker has reported. The fears surrounding voter fraud have been fanned in recent years as Trump and his allies repeated the false and debunked claim that Joe Biden won the presidency in 2020 only because he stole the election.
King, a longtime far-right Republican congressman from Iowa, was challenged by several candidates in the 2020 primary after a controversy in which he questioned whether the term “white supremacy” was offensive and was then stripped of his House committee appointments. Among those challengers was Jeremy Taylor, who had briefly resigned as a county supervisor earlier in the year after his voter registration was revoked because he had purchased a home outside of his district, according to Iowa Public Radio. Jeremy Taylor finished with less than 8 percent of the vote in the Republican congressional primary. King was defeated in the primary by Randy Feenstra, who went on to win King’s seat in the general election.
In one instance, Huong Nguyen, the mother of Tam and Thien Doan, testified that Kim Phuong Taylor had called her to see if she needed help voting and came to the house to complete the paperwork that Nguyen signed. Nguyen testified that she was unaware that completing ballots for her children was against the law, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Ron Timmons said during closing arguments that Kim Phuong Taylor “told her to lie” and not tell her children what happened to their ballots.
The exchange became an issue in October 2020, when Woodbury County Auditor and Recorder Pat Gill met with Tam and Thien Doan over returned ballots that the siblings said they had not filled out. Thien Doan was shown his ballot with a signature that was not his, and that was marked as a vote for Trump, according to the Journal.
Other members of the Vietnamese community testified that Kim Phuong Taylor committed voter fraud without their knowledge. Gill, who also is the election commissioner and the lone Democrat holding elective office in Woodbury County, testified that the handwriting on many of the ballots looked similar but that it was impossible to tell who submitted the ballots.
“It looked like something was going on, but at that point there was nothing I could do,” Gill said.
A few months later, there were several suspicious ballots that he could trace, which led Gill to contact the FBI. Brown, Kim Phuong Taylor’s attorney, claimed during opening statements that a “bias virus” and bad blood between Gill and Jeremy Taylor had sparked the probe.
After Kim Phuong Taylor was convicted, Brown said he respected the court’s decision, noting that “now is the time for empathy for a family that is suffering,” according to Iowa Public Radio.
Timothy T. Duax, the U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Iowa, celebrated the conviction and denounced Kim Phuong Taylor’s voter fraud to help her husband.
“The right to vote is one of our most important constitutional rights,” he said in a statement. “Ms. Taylor deprived citizens of their right to vote in order to benefit her husband’s campaign.”