Milwaukee Election Official Caught Requesting Fake Military Absentee Ballots

Milwaukee Election Official Caught Requesting Fake Military Absentee Ballots
Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) Tony Webster 7/26/10

On Thursday, it was announced that Kimberly Zapata, deputy director of the Milwaukee County Election Commission, had requested fraudulent military ballots and mailed them to a Wisconsin State Representative.

Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson stated that he terminated Zapata immediately upon hearing the allegations. He also said in an impromptu press briefing:

“The city of Milwaukee has removed the deputy director of our elections commission. I was stunned, absolutely stunned to hear the very serious allegations against her. I was told just yesterday that she apparently sought fictitious military ballots from a state elections website, and had those ballots directed to a State Representative.

“I will not accept, I will not tolerate, and I certainly will not defend any misrepresentation by a city official involved in elections. It does not matter that this might have been an effort to expose a vulnerability that state law created. It does not matter that this alleged crime did not take place at work. It does not matter that City of Milwaukee ballots were not part of this. Nor does it matter that there was no attempt to vote illegally or tamper with election results.”

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Loophole In The Law

State Rep. Janel Brandtjen’s office stated that she did receive three military ballots that Brandtjen said she thought were counterfeit. Brandtjen speculated as to why she was sent the ballots in a statement: “I believe someone was trying to point out how easy it is to get military ballots in Wisconsin.”

This is not the first time that this same tactic has been used to prove a potential flaw in Wisconsin voting law.

In September, in Racine, Harry Wait was charged with election fraud, after he applied for and received absentee ballots that were actually in the name of two Wisconsin lawmakers.  

The technicality in question in state voting law is that military personnel are not required to register to vote. Therefore, there is no photo ID required in order to request an absentee ballot.

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Lessons Learned From 2020?

After the 2020 presidential election, and the questions that continue to surround it, many states have revisited their election laws. In Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis, not one for tip-toeing around an issue, took things a step further.

In April, DeSantis formed a special police force to address claims of voter fraud and other election violations. In August, DeSantis announced the arrests of 20 people in connection with voter fraud crimes. 

At the time of the arrests, DeSantis stated, “Our new election crimes office has sprung into action to hold individuals accountable for voter fraud. Today’s actions send a clear signal to those who are thinking about ballot harvesting or fraudulently voting. If you commit an elections crime, you will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.” 

In Wisconsin, Kimberly Zapata is just the latest to be caught engaging in some type of voter fraud. In 2022 alone, three other people have been convicted of ineligible voting and false voter registrations.

Since 2020, Democrats have taken to calling claims of election fraud related to that election “the big lie,” and label those who question that election as “election deniers.” 

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