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Trial to Commence for Milwaukee Election Official Accused of Requesting Mail-in Ballots for Fictitious Military Members

Credits: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

The trial for Kimberly D. Zapata, a former Wisconsin election official accused of requesting mail-in ballots for three nonexistent military voters, is set to commence on Monday in a Milwaukee court.

Zapata, 47, who previously served as the deputy director of the City of Milwaukee Election Commission, faces charges including three misdemeanor counts of election fraud and one count of felony misconduct in public office. As outlined in a criminal complaint, these charges were brought against her in November 2022.

Election Officials (Credits: ABC News)

Despite pleading not guilty in December 2022, as recorded in the Milwaukee County Circuit Court’s docket, Zapata is now poised for jury selection beginning Monday.

According to prosecutors, Zapata allegedly utilized Wisconsin’s online voter registration portal, MyVote, to request mail-in ballots for the fictitious military voters.

Investigators claim that during an interview, Zapata confessed to submitting these requests to expose vulnerabilities within the absentee voting system, purportedly to uphold election integrity—a component of her professional duties.

Election Official (Credits: NPR)

The alleged actions took place on October 25, 2022, approximately two weeks before the midterm elections. Zapata purportedly accessed the public website from her residence at around 5:30 a.m. Prosecutors assert that she used her city-issued laptop to submit all three requests within a brief 10 minutes.

The three fabricated voters—Holly Brandtjen, Holly Jones, and Holly Adams—shared a singular birthday, a detail highlighted by officials.

Municipal clerks in South Milwaukee, Shorewood, and Menomonee Falls were reported to have processed these requests, all of whom lacked proof of identification or residency but were categorized as military voters.

Claire Woodall-Vogg, executive director of the state’s Election Commission, emphasized in November 2022 that military voters are exempt from the typical voter registration requirements, including needing a photo ID.

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