Milwaukee election official fired for allegedly fraudulent solicitation of military votes

A Milwaukee elections official has been fired on charges of fraudulently soliciting mail-in ballots from the military and mailing them to a Wisconsin state official, Mayor Cavalier Johnson announced on Twitter Thursday.

Milwaukee Electoral Commission Deputy Director Kimberly Zapata was fired after the Democrat called Johnson “a egregious, blatant breach of trust.”

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

Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson speaks to participants at a stop during a march to get voting on the first day of early voting in the 2022 midterm elections on October 25, 2022.

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

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The state representative then last week shared a picture of the ballots, which appeared to have false names, according to Fox 6 Milwaukee.

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

Military personnel are exempt from voter identification laws, and city officials believe Zapata was trying to prove there was a loophole in the voting process, Fox 6 reported.

A voter places her absentee ballot in a mailbox in Troy, Michigan on Oct. 15, 2020.

A voter places her absentee ballot in a mailbox in Troy, Michigan on Oct. 15, 2020.
(AP Photo/Paul Sancya, file)

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Johnson denied this, saying it “doesn’t matter that this might have been an attempt to expose a vulnerability,” noting that he will not “accept” or “defend” any misstatements by any city official involved in elections.

“It doesn’t matter that this alleged crime did not take place at the workplace. It doesn’t matter that the City of Milwaukee ballots weren’t part of it. It also doesn’t matter that there was no attempt to illegally vote or manipulate election results.” Johnson said on Twitter on Thursday.

Wisconsin courts have dismissed attempts to change mail voting rules.

Wisconsin courts have dismissed attempts to change mail voting rules.
(AP Photo/Wong Maye-E, file)

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“There is no doubt about it, the integrity of the elections is absolutely essential.”

Johnson said he and the executive director of the Milwaukee Electoral Commission will “ensure that Milwaukee’s election administration is conducted with the highest degree of accuracy and honesty — without evidence of impropriety.”

The Milwaukee Mayor said Zapata was “competent” with her actions and no further fraud was suspected, although officials are still evaluating the “possibility of other misdeeds.”

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