March 20, 2024 – The former deputy director of the Milwaukee Election Commission was found guilty of misconduct in public office and voter fraud

In Email/Dossier/Govt Corruption Investigations by Katie Weddington

The former deputy director of the Milwaukee Election Commission was found guilty of one count of misconduct in public office and three counts of voter fraud at the conclusion of her jury trial on Wednesday.

Kimberly Zapata, 47, will be sentenced on May 2 at a hearing before Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge Kori Ashley, who also presided over her trial.

Zapata pleaded not guilty to all the charges she faced. Combining all potential penalties for all the charges, she now faces a maximum of five years in prison and more than $10,000 in fines at sentencing.

(…) Prosecutors successfully argued that Zapata used fake voter information to request three military absentee ballots through the Wisconsin Elections Commission’s online portal on Oct. 25, 2022 — just ahead of that year’s midterm elections — and send them to a Republican lawmaker who embraced election conspiracy theories.

Adams painted Zapata as an apolitical whistleblower highlighting real issues with election administration, divorced from conspiracy theories. He said she was under extreme stress at the time, in part because her office was inundated with such theories and threats of harm or death against election officials.

Adams used his closing arguments to try to convince the jury that there was an “incredible mismatch” between what prosecutors believe and the actual facts in the case.

(…) She admitted to her actions — including to her boss, Milwaukee Election Commission Director Claire Woodall-Vogg — shortly after the fact, but claims she requested the ballots only to expose a loophole in the absentee voting system.

Westphal swatted down the notion that the defendant was a legitimate whistleblower who gained and shared information.

“She is not exposing the information; she is committing election fraud … that’s not blowing the whistle on the problem, that’s aggravating the problem,” the prosecutor said.

Far from alleviating the mis- and-disinformation, stress and anxiety in her office, Zapata added “to the anxiety and stress in this office by creating this false narrative that people are doing this,” Westphal said. (Read more: Courthouse News, 3/20/2024)  (Archive)

Sentencing hearing on May 2, 2024: