Colorado man suspected in the death of his wife, who disappeared on Mother’s Day last year, is also accused of submitting a fraudulent vote on her behalf for Donald Trump in November’s presidential election, court documents show.

Barry Morphew told investigators he mailed the ballot on behalf of his wife, Suzanne Morphew, to help Trump win, saying “all these other guys are cheating” and that he thought his wife would have voted for Trump anyway, according to an arrest warrant affidavit signed by a judge in Chaffee county.

Trump and his supporters in the Republican party claim Joe Biden won the White House through mass electoral fraud – a lie repeatedly thrown out of court.

In December, the Washington Post reported that “only a handful of cases” of actual voter fraud had “resulted in criminal charges alleging wrongdoing”.

Some of the charges, it said, were “against Republican voters aiming to help Trump … including a man charged with trying to cast a ballot in Pennsylvania for the president in the name of his deceased mother”.

In Colorado, Morphew, 53, faces possible first-degree murder and other charges in connection with the disappearance of Suzanne Morphew on 10 May last year. He was arrested on 5 May and is being held in connection with that case.

Morphew posted a widely viewed video on Facebook pleading for his wife’s safe return shortly after she disappeared.

Authorities say the arrest was the result of an investigation that has failed to find Suzanne Morphew’s body. After conducting more than 135 searches across Colorado and interviewing 400 people in multiple states, investigators believe she is dead but have not found her body, the Chaffee county sheriff, John Spezze, has said.

An arrest affidavit by an Chaffee county sheriff’s detective sergeant, Claudette Hysjulien, says the county clerk’s office received a suspicious mail ballot in Suzanne Morphew’s name in October.

Sheriff’s investigators saw the ballot, which had been mailed by the state to Suzanne Morphew, lacked Suzanne’s signature, as required by law. Barry Morphew had signed it as a witness.

Morphew was interviewed by two FBI agents about the ballot in April. Asked why he sent it, he told the agents, “Just because I wanted Trump to win,” according to the affidavit. “I just thought, give him another vote.”

Asked if he knew it was illegal to send someone else’s ballot, Morphew replied: “I didn’t know you couldn’t do that for your spouse.”

The affidavit says Morphew faces two new counts: felony forgery and misdemeanor ballot fraud. On Friday, Morphew was being advised of the new charges in Chaffee county district court.

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