Liz Cheney: “Our Democracy is Fragile, Voter ID is Really Important”
Congresswoman Liz Cheney recently spoke at a forum sponsored by Issue One that focused on America's electoral process and the U.S. Constitution.
According to a press release from Cheney's office, the Congresswoman received a standing ovation when she came out to speak.
Cheney began her talk by remembering her time in grade school, when teachers would tell her "You can make a difference."
"When I look at the audience, when I see the young people who are here, and I think about what our democracy is and what our democracy means," Cheney began. "You hear people talking about our democracy and what it means. But I can tell you with absolute confidence that our democracy is fragile, and that the institutions that make up our democracy -- so, you know, our executive branch, our legislative branch, our courts. Those institutions don't defend themselves. People have to do that. And that starts with the people, the men and women in uniform, who, generation after generation, have sacrificed, many made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. And it runs through every citizen. I think one thing that we must always remember, we live in a Republic. And in a Republic, no citizen can be a bystander. And that means that in this Republic, you have to stand up for what you believe in."
That's certainly something Cheney has done, sometimes to the detriment of her own career. But, Cheney said, it's the responsibility of every person to hold true to their beliefs. It's our duty to make our voices heard.
"We are the greatest constitutional Republic that has ever existed, and that imposes a real duty on every one of us," Cheney said. "When you think about -- people often will say as well things like, “Well, you know, we have inherited this democracy, and we have to pass it to our children.” And that is certainly true. But I think it's really important to stop and think about what that means -- for each of us what that means. What that means is we have a duty. People have fought and they have died for this constitutional Republic. And we cannot just throw it away because our politics don't match the outcome of an election. We must not do that."
Cheney continued, stating that when we do cast our votes, it's important to vote for people who take the job seriously and who are worthy of the honor.
"They have to be worthy of the responsibility and the obligation of governing in this Republic, and they have to be up to the tasks and the challenges we face," Cheney said. "We're facing really serious, grave issues. And those issues require serious people. So, when you're casting your vote, when you're thinking about who to vote for, one of the things that's most important for us to do is to incentivize serious people. There are a lot of people, too many people, in Congress today on both sides of the aisle who are not serious, who don't do their homework, and who treat politics like it's a game."
Cheney then got a little personal, stating that she had "the great honor and privilege" to be raised by her parents, Dick and Lynne Cheney. She said her parents taught both her and her sister how important it is to respect and revere history and she mentioned that, during her travels and studies abroad, she saw how important having a voice is, because so many countries don't allow their citizens to have a voice.
She also mentioned the 12th Amendment and the fact that, despite what some former presidents may wish, neither Congress, nor the Vice President, can decide who becomes president.
"As an elected official, as somebody who's sworn an oath to the Constitution, I don't get to pick and choose, and I don't want to pick and choose," Cheney said. "If I won't defend the Twelfth Amendment, if I won't defend that the plain meaning in the text of the Twelfth Amendment, then how can I defend the First Amendment? And how can I defend the Second Amendment? The Constitution is our shield. And when you think about what it means, and the responsibility that we all have, I think it's really important for us to recognize that we don't get to have the debates about substance and about policy if we abandon the Constitution."
Cheney then commented on the election process and what she believes to be important aspects of voting. Cheney said it's imperative that the people, as in the American people, choose who the president is; not Congress. She says that if Congress was able to object to electoral votes from California, what's to stop them from objecting to votes from Wyoming, or any other state? Cheney said the electoral process is imperative, and that there does need to be a system to make sure every vote is counted and every voter is accounted for.
"I think as we're looking at changes, voter ID is really important," Cheney said. "I think making sure that we have absentee ballots opened and counted. You know, we need to have an end to the election and nice to have the end be on Election Day. I think that we also ought to work to clean and clear out voter rolls. You know, that is something that is fundamentally important, but becomes a political hot potato. I also think that ballot harvesting is a real problem. And ballot harvesting goes on where, you know, people go around and collect a bunch of ballots and take them all to a single location to vote and that opens up possibilities for fraud. So, I think we need to empower our states to make sure that they're doing everything they can to continue to improve the integrity of our elections, and that ought to be nonpartisan."
Video of the event can be seen here.