Colorado City election fraud? Mohave County wants to investigate

April 9, 2019

Colorado City officials may have committed voter fraud during the 2018 general election, according to Mohave County Attorney Matt Smith, who is seeking $8,000 from the county’s board of supervisors to investigate the matter further.

According to Smith, his request for an investigation stems from reports of voter fraud may have been committed during the general election in the town of about 5,000 people on Mohave County’s northern border. Colorado City is known for being home to fundamentalist Mormon groups that practice polygamy, including the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Smith said Monday that initial complaints were made by Mohave County residents who live in the Colorado City area. As of Monday, Smith declined to provide specific information as to the exact nature of the accusation.During the 2018 general election, 11 candidates ran for three seats on the Colorado City Council – including Brooke Barlow, Freeman Barlow, Parley Barlow and Shem Barlow. During that race, council members Alma Hammon, Jeffrey Jessop and Joanne Shapley were elected. News of the potential investigation came as a surprise to Colorado City Vice Mayor Anthus Barlow on Monday.“We haven’t heard anything about it,” Anthus Barlow said. “Our elections are all handled through the county. If there was something that happened, it would be the county that has to answer for it.”Attempts to contact Colorado City Clerk Vance Barlow by telephone were unsuccessful as of Monday evening.Smith intends to contract investigator Gary Engels in the investigation. According to Smith, Engels was instrumental in investigating 2005 allegations of underage marriage and pedophilia in Colorado City, which led to nine criminal indictments of Colorado City officials on charges of sexual conduct with a minor.Engels would act as special investigator for the Mohave County Attorney’s Office as would attempt to gather information and procure testimony of potential criminal wrongdoing in the case.Smith said in a Monday interview that he will share additional information about the complaints of alleged voter fraud when he makes his request to the Mohave County Board of Supervisors next week. The Mohave County Board of Supervisors is scheduled to vote on whether to assign Engels to the investigation at its April 15 meeting.Mohave County Recorder Kristi Blair declined to comment on the investigation.