Subscribe
A wooden gavel and block is seen inside the Senate Hart Building in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, March 3, 2015.

A wooden gavel and block is seen inside the Senate Hart Building in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, March 3, 2015. (Carlos Bongioanni/Stars and Stripes)

MADISON, Wis. — A Wisconsin lawmaker who has been a frequent promoter of false election claims is suing to prevent the immediate counting of military ballots in her state after she received three ballots under fake names.

The lawsuit, filed on Friday, was brought by a veterans group and three individuals, including Rep. Janel Brandtjen (R), the chairwoman of the State Assembly’s elections committee.

Last week, Brandtjen received three military ballots under fictitious names that were allegedly sent to her by Kimberly Zapata, a Milwaukee election official. Election officials have criticized Brandtjen for spreading false claims about the system, and Zapata later told prosecutors she was trying to alert Brandtjen about an actual weakness in the state’s voting system that should be addressed.

Days later Zapata was fired and charged with a felony and three misdemeanors.

Unlike most states, Wisconsin allows military members to cast ballots without registering to vote or providing proof of residency. Military ballots make up a tiny fraction of votes in Wisconsin - about 1,400 so far for Tuesday’s election.

Brandtjen and the others are using the incident to argue that military ballots should not be counted unless election officials can show they complied with a state law requiring them to maintain lists of all eligible military voters.

Brandtjen’s attorney, Erick Kaardal of the conservative Thomas More Society, said state officials have handled elections in a way that is “conducive to vote fraud.”

Will Attig, director of the Union Veterans Council, expressed alarm at the attempt to prevent counting military ballots.

“These are service members defending our country that have the right to vote and their means to vote is by mail,” he said. “We’ve got what to me appears to be an orchestrated plan by election deniers who do not truly support our democracy.”

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign-up to receive a daily email of today’s top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign up