Fired Milwaukee Election Commission official formally charged for fraudulently requesting absentee ballots
Kimberly Zapata faces one count of misconduct in public office (act in excess of lawful authority) and three counts false statement to obtain/vote absentee ballot.
On Thursday, Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson said Zapata, who was the deputy director of the Milwaukee Election Commission, was stripped of her duties for allegedly accessing fictitious military absentee ballots and sending them to state Rep. Janel Brandtjen (R - Menomonee Falls), co-chair of the Assembly Elections Committee. Brandtjen is among GOP officials who back the impossible effort to decertify the 2020 election.
Milwaukee alders reacted to the case on Friday.
"We need to hold her accountable," Ald. JoCasta Zamarripa told reporters. "What she did disappoints us as an institution and disappoints the people of this great state and the people of this city, and she needs to be held accountable."
According to the criminal complaint:
"Zapata did this because she wanted to make a point that there is fraud in existence. She stated that it is not the conspiracy theories out there, but she wanted to bring the actual true fraud out. Zapata stated that she felt overwhelmed due to the threats of violence the election commission was receiving, in addition to the constant daily harassment and accusations of lying and hiding things. She stated she wanted the truth to come out so that they could focus on the actual problems."
The state's top election official also reacted Friday in a news conference.
"I am deeply disappointed in this individual's actions," Wisconsin Elections Commission Administrator Meagan Wolfe said. "This election official violated election law, undermined the trust of the public and of her fellow election workers."
Wolfe added the "stunt" was a waste of valuable time for clerks.
"These stunts do not impact the integrity of the election," Wolfe said. "They do not exploit vulnerabilities. They are caught."
Wolfe reaffirmed her confidence in the many checks throughout the voting system that allow for such actions to be flagged, caught and handled properly.
Zapata is set to appear in court on Nov. 28.