Limbaugh safe from voter-fraud charges Radio host encouraged fans to vote Democratic Friday, March 28, 2008 2:59 AM By Mark Niquette THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH Radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh has been telling his audience for days now that he could be indicted for encouraging Ohio Republicans to take a Democratic ballot in the March 4 primary in what he calls "Operation Chaos." Could that actually happen? Not likely, Ohio officials say. "We have no intention of prosecuting Rush Limbaugh because lying through your teeth and being stupid isn't a crime," said Leo Jennings, a spokesman for Democratic Attorney General Marc Dann. When asked whether she has concerns about what Limbaugh did, Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner, a Democrat, replied, "I think it's very bad form, but I think most voters are intelligent enough to make their own decisions." Limbaugh's "Operation Chaos" in Ohio, Pennsylvania and other states holding presidential primaries is designed to help presumptive Republican nominee John McCain win the Nov. 4 election. The idea is to encourage Republicans in those states to vote for Hillary Clinton as a way to prolong the Democratic fight for the nomination with Barack Obama, possibly making it more difficult for Democrats to unite in the fall. Some critics have complained that Limbaugh is improperly encouraging voters to break the law. In Ohio, party-switchers are supposed to sign a form attesting, under penalty of election falsification -- a felony -- that they support the principles of the party whose ballot they are obtaining. But Jennings said it would be difficult to prosecute anyone because they also have constitutionally protected freedom of speech and it's hard to prove voter intent. "You can't just make the assumption that someone is lying," Jennings said. Neither Limbaugh nor a spokesman could be reached, but Limbaugh has a transcript posted on his Web site addressing listeners concerned about being charged with voter fraud. "I wouldn't worry about it," Limbaugh said. "Look at this as a badge of honor, ladies and gentlemen. If anybody gets indicted, if anybody has to go jail, it will be me -- and I'll do my program from jail for the short amount of time I will be there before I am excused and the charges dismissed. "I had the temerity, ladies and gentlemen, to tinker with a tradition, a liberal Democrat tradition: voter manipulation."