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Arizona prosecutor wants to investigate voter fraud claim

(Getty Images Photo/George Frey)

LAKE HAVASU CITY, Arizona (AP) – An Arizona county attorney wants to investigate unspecified allegations of voter fraud during last year’s municipal elections in a rural community on the Arizona-Utah border that is home to a polygamous sect.

Mohave County Attorney Matt Smith is requesting $8,000 in county funds to hire an investigator to look into the allegations, the Today’s News-Herald in Lake Havasu City reports .

Smith declined to provide specifics about the allegations but said he’ll share more when he goes before the county Board of Supervisors to seek approval for the funds at a meeting on April 15.

Members of the polygamous group called the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints kept control of the town council in Colorado City, Arizona, during the 2018 elections.

Non-members of the group took control of town offices in the sister city of Hildale, Utah.

Colorado City Vice Mayor Anthus Barlow deferred questions on a potential investigation to the county, which oversaw the election.

Mohave County Recorder Kristi Blair declined to comment.

Smith wants to hire former Bullhead City detective Gary Engels, who has experience doing investigations in the mostly polygamous community.

Smith has had conversations with county elections officials about the situation, according to an agenda item for the upcoming meeting.

The polygamous group has been weakened in recent years by government crackdowns and the lifelong imprisonment of its leader, Warren Jeffs, in Texas for sexually assaulting underage girls he considered brides.

The sister cities of Colorado City and Hildale were found guilty of civil rights violations and are being closely watched by court-appointed monitors.

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