If Las Vegas is laying odds on the outcome of the Arizona Senate audit of 2020 presidential ballots, bettors would be smart to put their money on a finding of fraud.

The stated intention of the Senate’s inquisition is to “…restore voter confidence” in the integrity of our election process.

This cannot be accomplished through the hiring of a biased consulting firm, which Senate President Karen Fann confirmed last week. The Senate has contracted with Doug Logan and his company Cyber Ninjas, along with three other “consultants,” to conduct an extensive forensic audit of Maricopa County’s 2.1 million ballots cast in the Nov. 3, 2020 presidential election.

Taxpayers will cough up roughly $150,000 for this waste of time.

Arizona has quickly become the laughing stock of not just the progressive left, but also many conservatives who have moved on from the election. Republicans across the country have found plenty of opportunities to energize their base on the policies of the Biden Administration, including the humanitarian crisis at our border, over-zealous and never-ending COVID restrictions and the explosion of public debt, just to name a few.

“…The Arizona Senate’s bootleg election audit is a pathetic attempt to muddy the waters when the truth is clear and obvious to any reasonable observer,” the Washington Post editorial board wrote Sunday.

Rarely has this newspaper sided with The Post, but in this case we cannot disagree.

Logan earned national recognition in December with Twitter posts he has subsequently removed from the social media platform. He was part of a team that investigated voting machines in Antrim County, Michigan and found errors designed to create fraud. State and county officials said the report was biased and identified a slew of problems with the team's analysis.

The Arizona Senate has hired a firm that will justify its lengthy, questionable and self-serving pursuit of fraud. This is not about rebuilding the confidence of Arizona voters — most of whom have long-since accepted the findings of eight court decisions which failed to find fraud and the results of three previous audits ordered by the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors.

This is about Fann attempting to save face and a cabal of conservatives in the Senate, including our own David Gowan, who fuel supporters with unfounded, now bordering on ridiculous, conspiracy theories.

There will always be conspiracy theories. Some Americans have a penchant for the Kennedy assassination, believing the martyred president was killed by the industrial military complex to change the United States policy on Vietnam. Others are convinced that 9/11 was a CIA plot that then-president George W. Bush used to justify war with Iraq.

What distinguishes Arizona’s conspiracy theory of election fraud is its perpetuance by our elected officials.

It reminds us of the McCarthyism of the early 1950s, when Wisconsin Senator Joseph McCarthy produced a series of investigations and hearings to expose supposed communist infiltration of various areas of the U.S. government.

He was asked to present his list of known communists, and when he held up a blank sheet of paper, his fraud was exposed and his career as a politician quickly ended.

We hope for the same fate for the Arizona Senators backing this circus act.

This originally appeared in the Sierra Vista Herald, a sister paper of the Green Valley News.