Zapata Resigns City Job Before Disciplinary Decision
Former deputy election director faces felony and misdemeanor charges for voter fraud.
Former City of Milwaukee deputy election director Kimberly Zapata won’t continue to collect a government paycheck while she faces felony and misdemeanor charges of voter fraud. She resigned on Dec. 19 before the city could take any formal disciplinary action.
Zapata is alleged to have used a state elections website in October to have three military absentee ballots for fictitious individuals sent to the home of Janel Brandtjen (R-Menomonee Falls), the then-chair of the Wisconsin State Assembly‘s Elections Committee and an advocate of decertifying the 2020 election.
Her resignation ends a potentially drawn-out process to discipline or fire her. “She resigned before a disciplinary decision could be made following an internal investigation,” said a Department of Employee Relations spokesperson in an email.
But regardless of her city employment status, Zapata still faces a felony charge of misconduct in office. She pled not guilty in December. She also pled not guilty to three misdemeanor charges of voter fraud. The next hearing is scheduled for Feb. 3.
Zapata is currently free on a $2,500 personal recognizance bond issued by Milwaukee County Court Commissioner Maria Dorsey.
A criminal complaint filed by Milwaukee County details Zapata’s alleged actions, and a possible motive.
In an interview with the DA’s office, Zapata is alleged to have committed the action from her southwest side home the morning of Oct. 25 to draw attention to the “actual true fraud” and move Brandtjen, who has empowered Gableman and pushed to decertify the 2020 election, away from “conspiracy theories.”
Zapata, according to the complaint, used the public-facing My Vote WI website to request the ballots. She created fictitious people that lived in South Milwaukee, Shorewood and Menomonee Falls and had all of the ballots sent to Brandtjen’s Menomonee Falls home. She did, however, use a privileged election worker system to access Brandtjen’s address, which would have been available in other public documents.
Unlike other Wisconsin voters, military members do not need to register in advance or provide an ID in order to request an absentee ballot.
Brandtjen received the ballots on Oct. 28. The Waukesha County Sheriff’s Office announced it was investigating the matter on Oct. 31. Woodall-Vogg, according to the complaint, discussed the issue with Zapata, who denied any knowledge of this. Zapata later approached Woodall-Vogg on Wednesday, Nov. 2 and admitted she requested the ballots.
- Judge Dismisses Rep. Brandtjen’s Military Ballot Lawsuit - Baylor Spears - Aug 1st, 2023
- City Hall: Zapata Resigns City Job Before Disciplinary Decision - Jeramey Jannene - Jan 9th, 2023
- Zapata Pleads Not Guilty To Felony Charge Related To Voter Fraud - Jeramey Jannene - Dec 9th, 2022
- Former Milwaukee Election Official Pleads Not Guilty On Election Fraud Charges - Jeramey Jannene - Dec 2nd, 2022
- Don’t Disband Elections Commission Says Its Administrator - Sarah Lehr - Nov 11th, 2022
- Court Won’t Block Counting Of Military Ballots - Bridgit Bowden - Nov 8th, 2022
- Milwaukee Deputy Election Director Charged With Felony, Motive Revealed - Jeramey Jannene - Nov 4th, 2022
- UPDATE: Military Ballot Investigation - Waukesha County Sheriff's Department - Nov 4th, 2022
- WEC Statement Regarding Milwaukee Election Official - Wisconsin Elections Commission - Nov 3rd, 2022
- Likely criminal case looming against former deputy director of the Election Commission - Milwaukee Common Council - Nov 3rd, 2022
Read more about Zapata ballot charges here