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Milwaukee election official fired after allegedly soliciting military ballots for fraudulent voters

Milwaukee election official fired after allegedly soliciting military ballots for fraudulent voters



CNN

Senior election official in Milwaukee was fired after allegedly getting the military absentee ballots for fraudulent voters through a state website and sending them to a Republican state representative, Mayor Cavalier Johnson announced Thursday.

Kimberly Zapata, deputy director of the Milwaukee Board of Elections, allegedly requested the military ballots through the state website MyVote Wisconsin, Johnson said.

The ballots were sent to GOP Rep. Janel Brandtjen, an outspoken critic of how the votes were tallied during Election 2020who said in an Oct. 31 statement that she believed “someone was trying to point out how easy it is to get military tickets in Wisconsin.”

Brandtjen’s office says the ballots were found on Oct. 27 and then turned over to the Waukesha County Sheriff’s Office, which confirmed her account and said it is cooperating with the Waukesha County District Attorney’s Office in this investigation.

The Milwaukee County District Attorney’s office told CNN it expects criminal charges against Zapata to be filed “in the coming days.”

Zapata’s lawyer, Michael Maistelman, told CNN: “We will discuss this in the courtroom, not in the media.”

Absentee ballots sent to Brandtjen were addressed to individuals who do not appear to exist, according to her statement, which included images of the envelopes she received.

“All the ballots were titled ‘Holi’ with three different surnames. “None of these persons have a place of residence, nor did they stay at her address, and the Representative did not ask for ballots,” it is stated in her announcement.

After Brandtjen inquired, according to her office, “she realized that these three ‘Hollies’ probably did not exist. If they did, why would they send ballots to her house? ‘I believe someone was trying to point out how easy it is to get military tickets in Wisconsin.’

Johnson said there should be no concern about the election.

“People should have confidence in our election in Milwaukee because we’re doing it right now,” Johnson said. “We are getting ready, we are going to meet the challenge we are facing. If anyone tries to interfere in an election in Milwaukee, they will be dealt with accordingly. In this case, this particular individual was terminated immediately.”

Electoral Commission Executive Director Claire Woodall-Vogg said Zapata has been with the commission for about 7 years.

“We have never had any indication of any violation of work policies or procedures,” Woodall-Vogg said. “Of course we will look into it, but up until this point she has been available and at this point we don’t have any indication of any concerns, but that doesn’t mean we won’t look into every aspect of the election that she participated in.”

In a statement to CNN, the Republican Party of Wisconsin reiterated that “election officials must follow the law,” but also expressed concern about “the vulnerabilities that continue to be exposed in the MyVote system.”

“We remain very concerned that these vulnerabilities exist and that the Election Commission is not taking appropriate steps to mitigate the risks of potential fraud created by these vulnerabilities in the system,” said Chad Doran, director of communications for the Wisconsin GOP.



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