As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Friday, March 21, 2008

I'm Not This Lucky

Will Rush Limbaugh Be Indicted for Voter Fraud?

In case you missed it, Rush Limbaugh, the nation's top-rated talk radio host, was urging Republicans in Texas and Ohio to skip their party's primary on March 4 and instead cast a vote for Hillary Clinton in order to prolong the fight between her and Barack Obama. And that Tuesday, as media in both states reported, thousands of Republicans did just what Limbaugh and others had suggested -- they changed parties to vote for Clinton.

"I want Hillary to stay in this, Laura," Limbaugh told Laura Ingraham on Feb. 29, near the start of his Hillary crusade. "This is too good a soap opera. We need Barack Obama bloodied up politically, and it's obvious that the Republicans are not going to do it and don't have the stomach for it, as you probably know." [...]

While this all makes for great talk radio and sounds like fun, there is one catch: What Limbaugh encouraged Republican voters to do in Ohio was a fifth-degree felony in that state, punishable with a $2,500 fine and six to 12 months in jail. That is because in order to change party affiliation in Ohio, voters have to fill out a form swearing allegiance to that party's principles "under penalty of election falsification."

On Thursday, March 20, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported that the "Cuyahoga County Board of Election has launched an investigation that could lead to criminal charges against voters who maliciously switched parties for the March 4 presidential primary." According to the report, "One voter scribbled the following addendum to his pledge as a new Democrat: "For one day only."

Except in the case of the idiot who wrote "for one day only" on his form (really, how embarrassing can you get?), I don't see how you could ever prove this, and I really kind of don't want this to be a crime. It's a thought crime if anything, and loyalty oaths make me queasy. Americans have the right to vote; they shouldn't have to defend their choice in any way.

That said, if the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections wants to ignore this and indict Rush Limbaugh as the ringleader of a massive vote fraud scandal, I wouldn't raise my voice too loudly in protest. And they'd better make sure they administer the drug test when they catch him, too.

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