AIKEN — Rolland Curtis cast his first vote in a presidential primary Saturday.
The 19-year-old Aiken resident voted in South Carolina’s Democratic primary alongside his father, Nolan, at South Aiken Church of God.
“I think it’s important to vote,” Curtis said. “My grandma tells me about how she and her family fought for the right to vote, so I think it’s a good thing to do.”
Both men said they are concerned about the level of discourse between the parties in this election year.
“I think people are just very emotional and very divided,” Nolan Curtis said. “I think government has to work for the people, and I think it’s very important for people to participate and express their opinions, but once the will of the electorate has been given, people move on from there.”
His son agreed.
“It’s really interesting to see how heated people can get over the issues, even some of the small issues,” Rolland Curtis said. “I think we need to be able to talk about things. I think we need to stay calm and rational and maybe not be so violently for or against anything.”
South Carolina held its Democratic primary a week after its GOP primary. Cynthia Holland, Aiken County’s registration and elections director, said the turnout for the Democrats was weaker than expected.
“So far turnout is not good at all,” Holland said. “At 2 p.m., overall we had about 3,200 people who had voted. We were thinking it would be a little bit higher.”
Even though Aiken County and South Carolina have been Republican strongholds for decades, the father and son tandem said it was still important to participate in the process.
“That’s OK. The point is we still have to live as one people and one nation,” Nolan Curtis said. “What’s important is we come to grips with those issues that are critical to all of our well-being. We’ve gotten to a point now where we can’t even discuss the issues.”