Cathy Enabenter of Rock Hill said she’s always voted, but she used to keep her political beliefs to herself.
This year is different, she said.
“Now at 62 years old, I’m looking for rallies to go to,” she said. “And it’s really strange for me. But I feel that our country is being taken down, and if we stand by, we’re guilty.”
Enabenter said her father instilled the importance of voting in her at a young age.
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“I’ve always been a Democrat, and I’ve always voted, but now there’s kind of an urgency to it,” she said. “I’m almost kind of worried about saving my country. It’s very strange. I’ve never been overly political.”
The Herald asked readers to respond to a survey on voting habits on Oct. 4. Of the 63 respondents, 39.7 percent said they identify as a Republican, and 31.7 percent said they identify as a Democrat. The remaining group identified as Independent.
Jobs and the economy are most important when voting, 36.7 percent of respondents said. Another 25 percent said healthcare, and 20 percent said political party.
Smaller percentages said race issues, education or immigration were most important.
Enabenter, a nurse, said healthcare has always been an important issue to her politically.
“I always believe that everybody should get the same kind of healthcare,” she said. “They should get the same kind of benefits as everybody else. You’re a human being.”
She said she worries that Republicans in Congress will take away healthcare protections from “people like me.”
U.S. Rep. Ralph Norman (R-Rock Hill) and his opponent, Democratic challenger Archie Parnell, disagreed on healthcare in their Sept. 20 debate.
Norman, who introduced a House of Representatives amendment to fully repeal the Affordable Care Act in November 2017, said government-run healthcare doesn’t work.
“If you want the government run like the post office,” Norman said, “continue on.”
Parnell said a public option is needed.
“Allow people to purchase Medicare coverage if they choose to do so,” he said. “It’s their choice.”
Enabenter said she also worries about race issues. She is white, and her children are black.
“It’s not recent but it’s more blatant recently,” she said of racism. “There’s so much hatred and divisiveness in this country. I know now it existed, that’s the one good thing, but I didn’t see it as much. Now I see it, and I see it all time.”
The Herald interviewed voters about their political beliefs earlier this month. Republican voters interviewed then agreed the country is divided, blaming Democrats.
James Reed, 41, said he moved three years ago to Rock Hill from Columbus, Ohio. He said local issues are more important to him than national politics.
“I’ve kind of become disgruntled with politics over the years,” he said. “I kind of look at what’s going to impact us locally.”
Reed said he typically votes Republican, but that doesn’t mean he only votes Republican.
“I voted for Ralph Norman last time, and I really have no interest in voting for him ever again,” Reed said. “He’s said some really awful things about people, and I don’t know if he’s trying to take the lead from our president, but that’s unacceptable.”
Norman has called for an end to incivilty in politics and introduced a measure to officially censure California Rep. Maxine Waters on June 26, after Waters encouraged people in California to publicly confront Trump administration officials over a zero tolerance border policy that led to a family separation policy.
Norman said at the time that Waters’ comments were “completely, and utterly unacceptable.”
Norman defended the president, saying Trump’s remarks, including his call for supporters to “knock out” protestors at campaign rallies, were justified.
But many were offended by Norman’s remarks at a Sept. 20 debate. He opened the debate by joking Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had been “groped by Abraham Lincoln.”
The Kiwanis Club, which organized the debate, later released a statement they were “disappointed” with the “joke.”
Norman later said on Twitter he was trying to bring a “bit of levity” to the debate, and told people to “lighten up.”
Reed said he’ll look for local candidates who will bring money back to the area.
“Our roads are terrible,” he said. “Our school systems as a state need help bad. Anyone who’s going to provide a path to at least addressing that.”
Both Gov. Henry McMaster and his Democratic challenger James Smith have pledged to increase teacher pay and promote less school testing.
McMaster has said he would also support school choice and ask for more money in the budget to put armed law enforcement officers in each school. Smith said he would expand the First Steps for Child Readiness preschool program, and promote project-based learning as well as looping, where teachers move through grades with their students.
The general election is Nov. 6.
The Herald still wants to hear from you. In the coming weeks, reporters with The Herald will interview readers to more clearly understand what is moving them to the polls. This is the second edition of what area voters are saying.