Katie Cantone: Why I Vote

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Katie Cantone is a third-year studying Media Studies and Spanish.

Why are you voting, why is it so important?

In today’s political atmosphere, the most common discussion is people expressing anger and disappointment and confusion and frustration with the state of our politics, and the state of our country and how it’s being run. And if you don’t vote, you sacrifice your right to be able to comment, to be able to complain. Voting is really the only guarantee that we have of making our voices heard in a world where so many people are feeling silenced. Also, our voting was what has created the current political atmosphere, and our voting is the most powerful attempt to change it. I think that it’s a responsibility more than a right to vote, and people’s claims that their vote doesn’t matter or isn’t significant enough have so clearly been proved to be unfounded that there’s really no excuse to not exercise that right. It’s really the most direct way that an average citizen can make the changes she wants to see a reality. And obviously we have a lot of changes we need to see.

What issues are most high on your mind as you go to vote this year?

The two that are the most personally relevant to me are immigration, and particularly conceptions of undocumented immigration, people’s accessibility to gaining their citizenship and that being very threatened right now - potentially more threatened than it ever has been before. So I really want to vote for candidates who will attempt to stop (that) current train from continuing to go forward.

And then the other thing is women’s rights and reproductive rights. It’s so confusing that any political figure, much less predominantly white males, should have control over what a woman does with her body - it just doesn’t make any sense to me. And it goes so much further than just reproductive rights. Women in general, I think, are as much under fire and under threat as any other minority in the political landscape right now.

What could be done to make voting easier or more accessible?

I think that somehow having a voting booth set up in the middle of Grounds, where people walk by and cannot avoid it - there’s no travel involved. We shouldn’t need that, but I think that for the college students who aren’t going to put in the effort because they think that it’s not worth it, to drive somewhere, or for first year students - I kind of see that as the most foolproof way to ensure that college students vote. But I think more than that is having more public, unavoidable forums about how important it is. Everyone is used to walking by people holding registration cards and ignoring them; it’s your instinct when you see someone standing with a sign to not look because we’re constantly bombarded. I think that the emails from Student Council too, people sometimes disregard them. But I think that if there’s any way to do something super public, like on the steps of the Rotunda, on the Lawn, demonstrations about the absolute critical necessity of voting - that might motivate people also. I think ultimately it’s our responsibility, and so many groups are doing things to encourage people, and I think it’s a laziness and lack of understanding about how important each individual voice is that keeps people from voting. We really don’t really have that many obstacles in place (as college students).