Milwaukee election official fired for alleged fraudulent request of military ballots

A Milwaukee election official was fired amid allegations she fraudulently requested military absentee ballots and sent them to a state representative, Mayor Cavalier Johnson announced on Twitter Thursday.

The Milwaukee Election Commission’s Deputy Director Kimberly Zapata was terminated for what Johnson, a Democrat, called “an egregious, blatant violation of trust.”

Johnson said he first learned Wednesday that Zapata requested “fictitious military ballots from a state election website” and had them sent to GOP state Rep. Janel Brandtjen. 

Mayor of Milwaukee Cavalier Johnson speaks to attendees at a stop during a march to get out the vote on the first day of early voting in the 2022 midterm elections Oct. 25, 2022, in Milwaukee, Wis. 

Mayor of Milwaukee Cavalier Johnson speaks to attendees at a stop during a march to get out the vote on the first day of early voting in the 2022 midterm elections Oct. 25, 2022, in Milwaukee, Wis.  (Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images for SEIU)

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The state representative then shared a picture of the ballots last week, which apparently had fake names, according to Fox 6 Milwaukee.

Fox News Digital could not immediately reach Brandtjen, who claimed she did not request the ballots in an interview with the Epoch Times, saying, “I believe someone was trying to point out how easy it is to get military ballots.”

Military members are exempt from voter ID laws, and city officials believe Zapata was attempting to prove there was a loophole in the election process, Fox 6 reported.

A Michigan voter inserts her absentee voter ballot into a drop box in Troy, Mich., Oct. 15, 2020.

A Michigan voter inserts her absentee voter ballot into a drop box in Troy, Mich., Oct. 15, 2020. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)

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Johnson rejected this and said it “does not matter that this might have been an effort to expose a vulnerability” and noted he will not “accept” or “defend any misrepresentation by a city official involved in elections.”

“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,” Johnson said on Twitter Thursday. 

Wisconsin courts shot down attempts to change rules for absentee ballots.

Wisconsin courts shot down attempts to change rules for absentee ballots. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E, File)

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“Let there be no doubt about this, election integrity is absolutely essential.”

Johnson said he and Milwaukee’s Election Commission executive director will “make certain Milwaukee’s election administration is conducted with the very highest level of accuracy and honesty — without any hints of impropriety.”

The Milwaukee mayor said Zapata had been “forthcoming” with her actions and that no further fraud has been suspected, though officials are still looking into the “possibility of other misdeeds.”

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