Former top Wisconsin election official found guilty for obtaining fake absentee ballots – Washington Examiner

Former Milwaukee election official Kimberly Zapata was found guilty by a jury Wednesday for creating fake identities in order to obtain absentee ballots during the 2022 midterm elections. 

Zapata, who was previously the Milwaukee Election Commission’s deputy director, obtained three military absentee ballots using fake identities that she sent off to Republican state Rep. Janel Brandtjen, who has supported overturning the results of the 2020 election. Following the verdict, Zapata was charged with one felony count of misconduct in public office and three misdemeanor counts of making a false statement in order to obtain an absentee ballot, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported

“She is the most vocal election fraud politician that I know of, and I thought that maybe this would make her stop and think and redirect her focus away from these outrageous conspiracy theories to something that’s actually real,” Zapata said, according to the outlet.

Zapata, who was fired in November 2022, said she used three fake identities so that she wouldn’t harm anyone. Brandtjen filed a lawsuit after Zapata was fired to prevent the counting of military ballots in the state. 

“If Ms. Zapata had wished to raise concerns about the election process, she could have done so anonymously by contacting appropriate authorities rather than jeopardizing her job and reputation,” Brandtjen said in a statement. 

Zapata’s defense attorney argued she was acting as a whistleblower to shine a light on a problem and that she only wanted to obtain the ballots because she knew Brandtjen would not cast them. However, Assistant District Attorney Matthew Westphal rejected the whistleblower argument and said she committed election fraud, the outlet reported. 

“This was not acting as a guardian of our elections, a guardian of our democracy,” Westphal said. “This was her deserting her duty to protect and secure our elections.”


Zapata added that she was hoping the other election clerks would have discovered the problem when they received the ballot requests and not send them to Brandtjen, but that was not the case. 

Zapata could face up to five years in prison, which will be decided at her May 2 hearing, the Associated Press reported.