Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson fired the city’s Election Commission Deputy Director Kimberly Zapata on Thursday after she was allegedly caught committing election fraud using military absentee ballots.
(Video Credit: FOX 6 News Milwaukee)
Johnson held an impromptu press conference claiming that Zapata had requested military absentee ballots that she proceeded to send to Republican state lawmaker Rep. Janel Brandtjen, according to Fox 6.
Military service members do not have to show ID to order or receive a ballot. The Wisconsin city thinks that Zapata was trying to show that there is a loophole in the elections process but Johnson didn’t want to hear it. Even though she had been forthcoming about it, he jumped at the chance to nail her over the incident.
“This has every appearance of being an egregious and blatant violation of trust,” the mayor proclaimed during an unscheduled press conference.
“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 to me that this might have been an effort to expose a vulnerability that state law created. It does not matter to me that the alleged crime did not take place at work. It does not matter to me that the City of Milwaukee ballots were not a part of this. Nor does it matter that there was no attempt to vote illegally or tamper with any election results,” he railed.
On Monday, Brandtjen alerted law enforcement that someone had sent military ballots in the names of people who don't exist to her home in what Brandtjen believed was an effort to alert her to how easy it is to commit vote fraud using military ballots.
— Dan O'Donnell (@DanODonnellShow) November 3, 2022
“Let there be no doubt about this, election integrity is absolutely essential. Both our Election Commission Executive Director and I will make certain Milwaukee’s election administration is conducted with the very highest level of accuracy and honesty – without any hints of impropriety,” Johnson added.
After Zapata’s effort at exposing a flaw in the voting process was exposed, she was immediately terminated. Her access to her office was revoked, her computer systems were frozen, and the matter was referred to the police according to Johnson. He also commented that the city is looking into other possible cases that involve misdeeds.
The Waukesha County Sheriff’s Department on Monday said it was investigating an allegation that someone requested military absentee ballots and sent them to the home of Republican State Rep. Janel Brandtjen, who lives in Menomonee Falls.
— Spencer Tracy (@SpencerTracyTV) November 3, 2022
Last week, Brandtjen released a photo of military ballots delivered to her home with apparently fake names.
“I believe someone was trying to point out how easy it is to get military ballots in Wisconsin. Registration for military ballots is not required,” Brandtjen noted.
Last week, @RepJanel Brandtjen shared this photo of military ballots delivered to her home with apparently fake names. “I believe someone was trying to point out how easy it is to get military ballots in Wisconsin. Registration for military ballots is not required…” pic.twitter.com/RFSDvUd6Wr
— Jason Calvi (@JasonCalvi) November 3, 2022
According to a city official, Zapata has worked for the city for ten years. She was part of the election commission for seven years.
Fox 6 is reporting that the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office is currently reviewing election fraud allegations involving Zapata. Charges are expected to be filed in the coming days.
“We will litigate this in the courtroom, not the media,” Michael Maistelman, who is representing Zapata, said according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
The blowup comes just five days before the midterms in Wisconsin, in which the state’s governor, U.S. Senate seat, and a number of U.S. House races are up for election.
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