A Wisconsin court has ordered absentee military ballots to be included in the vote count, even after some were proven fraudulent
A Wisconsin judge has refused to issue an injunction delaying the counting of absentee military ballots, arguing it would deprive voters. The decision came after the former state election director deliberately sent three counterfeit ballots to highlight vulnerabilities in the voting system.
Waukesha County Judge Michael Maxwell dropped a lawsuit by state representative Janel Brandtjen, a Republican, who requested that more than 1,000 military ballots be seized until they could be actually proven. Maxwell called the idea a “drastic remedy” this could lead to the deprivation of legitimate voters of their right to vote.
The charges were filed after Brandtjen received three counterfeit military ballots from Kimberly Zapata, formerly the deputy director of the Milwaukee Election Commission. Zapata told the Washington Post that she ordered the ballots with fake names, in an effort to show how the state’s voting system is prone to fraud.
‘They are not conspiracy theories’ she told the newspaper. “But on the other hand, it’s not nothing.”
Wisconsin allows members of the military to receive and cast ballots without registering to vote or presenting any proof of residence. The state asks non-military voters for photo ID at polling stations, although any voter can ask for a ballot paper, in which case only registration is required.
Zapata was charged Friday with misconduct and making false statements to obtain ballots. She faces up to five years in prison if convicted.
“I believe someone was trying to point out how easy it is to get military ballots in Wisconsin,” Rep. Brandtjen said in a statement last week. “I think it’s sad that people feel they have to break the law to get the attention of the legislature.”
President Joe Biden won Wisconsin by less than one percentage point in 2020. While former President Donald Trump accused the Democratic Party of fraud, an investigation found no evidence to back his claims.
Ahead of Tuesday’s midterm vote, incumbent Senator Ron Johnson, a Republican, has a one-point lead over Democratic challenger Mandela Barnes. In the race for the governor’s mansion, incumbent Tony Evers, a Democrat, is three points ahead of Republican contender Tim Michels, according to a Civiqs poll.
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