A Republican election official is fired in Wisconsin after requesting absentee ballots from America’s servicemen and women and fraudulently sending them to a Republican candidate. Milwaukee Election Commission deputy director, Kimberly Zapata, has been given the boot by the city’s mayor after revelations that Zapata requested the ballots.
“This has every appearance of being an egregious and blatant violation of trust. Election integrity is absolutely integral. It’s absolutely essential,” Milwaukee mayor Cavalier Johnson stated.
According to Johnson, Zapata sought “fictitious” military ballots garnered from a Wisconsin election website and forwarded them to Republican state assemblywoman Janel Brandtjen.
Johnson pushed back on Zapata’s claims she was only trying to expose election vulnerabilities, saying:
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.
Earlier this week, Brandtjen herself alerted officials after reportedly receiving three absentee ballots that she didn’t request. Alerting the Waukesha County Sheriff’s Department. The election-denying chair of the State Assembly’s elections committee has propagated the big lie and communicated with conspiracy theorists
In June 2021, Janel Brandtjen and other Wisconsin lawmakers toured the site of the partisan and discredited “audit” of 2020 election results in Maricopa County, Ariz.
The Wisconsin Elections Commission filed a lawsuit against Brandtjen after communications between her and fellow election deniers surfaced.
44-year-old Zapata, who has been an election official for seven years, had her credentials revoked and was stripped of access to city offices and computer systems after her firing. Promoted to deputy director over the summer, Election Commission Executive Director Claire Woodall-Vogg expressed surprise at her colleague’s actions.
Up until this point, we have never had any indication of any type of violation of work policies or procedures. We, of course, will be taking an extra look at that but up until this point she has been forthcoming and we dont’t have any concerns at this point. That’s not to say that we won’t be looking at every aspect of elections she’s been involved in.
Over 170,000 members of our military are serving overseas. Using those who put their lives on the line to protect the very democracy Republicans are painstakingly dismantling is an affront to our servicemen and women abroad. Their vote and their voice aren’t up for grabs in the GOP’s political games.
Mayor Johnson and Woodall-Vogg abruptly left a press conference on the issue, refusing to answer reporters’ questions.
Wisconsin is a battleground state, with key races between U.S. Senate Republican incumbent, and reported Russian asset, Ron Johnson in a heated race against Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes. Democratic governor Tom Evers is also up for reelection this year.
Read the document here.
Original reporting by Molly Beck, Alison Dirr, Corrinne Hess, and Daniel Bice at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Follow Ty Ross on Twitter @cooltxchick