Lawsuit asks Wisconsin election officials to sequester military ballots

Wisconsin absentee ballot
Wisconsin absentee ballot
Published: Nov. 4, 2022 at 10:36 PM CDT
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WAUKESHA, Wis. (WBAY) - The conservative Thomas More Society, on behalf of veterans and Waukesha County voters, filed a lawsuit Friday asking a court to order Wisconsin elections officials to sequester all military absentee and mail-in ballots.

The lawsuit asks the Waukesha County Circuit Court for a temporary injunction requiring elections officials to set aside military ballots so their authenticity can be verified.

The suit was motivated by the case of a Milwaukee Election Commission deputy administrator, who was fired after admitting to fraudulently requesting military ballots. According to the criminal complaint, Kimberly Zapata, when she was deputy director of the Milwaukee Election Commission, used the MyVote Wisconsin website to request three ballots, using fictitious names, filling in fields claiming each was in the military, and mailing them to the home of Republican state Rep. Janel Brandtjen.

Brandtjen is one of the defendants in the lawsuit.

Zapata said she wanted to expose a vulnerability in the system, that military members’ requests for ballots aren’t checked to validate their addresses.

The Wisconsin Elections Commission says military ballots make up 0.07% of the ballots cast in the state.

Zapata is also accused of abusing her authority when she looked up Brandtjen’s home mailing address.

Former Wisconsin Supreme Court Michael Gableman is now a senior counsel with the Thomas More Society. Gableman was appointed as special counsel to investigate fraud in the 2020 election in Wisconsin earlier this year and found none but identified what he called “systemic problems.”

In a statement from the Thomas More Society, Gableman wrote, “Each municipal clerk is required, under Wisconsin election law, to maintain and distribute an up-to-date, complete, verified, current, and accurate roll of all eligible military electors who reside in the municipality. Yet, the Wisconsin Election Commission’s guidance to clerks on military absentee ballots does not require any of those standards to be met, nor does it even mention a ‘military elector list.’”

In September, Gableman was in court representing a man who admitted to making fraudulent requests for ballots on MyVote Wisconsin. Because that defendant, Harry Wait, used the names of private citizens but not their legitimate addresses, local clerks reviewed and denied the requests.