Group touts petition to merge three Aiken County towns

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News 12 at 11 o'clock, October 19, 2007

AIKEN CTY, S.C. -- It's day three of a mission to get as many voters as possible to sign a petition to bring three Aiken County towns together.

It's all to get the message out. About 75 volunteers are talking to people who live in Graniteville, Vaucluse and Warrenville area. Their message: your voice needs to be heard.

Susan Dustin and her husband are on a mission. They're two of about 75 volunteers going door to door, asking registered voters to sign a petition.

"I'm Susan Dustin. I'm a volunteer for the GVW petition drive. It's basically a petition drive for the inclusion of Graniteville, Vaucluse and Warrenville. Have you heard anything about it?"

"Vaguely," said one man.

It's all to get at least 15 percent of the about 3,800 voters to sign. That means the petition needs about 565 names--and add another one to the list, because this stop was successful.

But not the next one. One man told Susan he's not signing the petition because bringing the three towns together would raise his taxes. So, on to the next stop.

"I'm not here to ask you if you're for it or against it, all I'm here to do is to give you the rights as a registered voters to sign the petition," said Susan.

"I'm for it, I'll tell you right now. Anything to get the town in better shape," said Jerry McGee, a resident.

Cleaning the streets, and, more importantly, having a police force are Jerry's reasons for supporting the petition.

"I can sleep better at night knowing we got police rotating the town and checking things out and doing things for us," he said.

Susan is looking to get every one of her 235 voters to sign the petition.

"As a registered voter, it should be everyone's opportunity to vote for the petition, either for it or against it, to give them their right," she said.

If this petition heads to a vote, local high school students could have a say in the city's name. Volunteers will be knocking on doors until November 2nd, and that's when they will send the petition and all its signatures to Columbia.

After it's reviewed and if approved, Susan expects voters to see a ballot question sometime around February or March of next year.

If you miss any of the volunteers coming to your door, you can head down to Napier Hardware in Graniteville to sign the petition yourself. All you need is a photo ID.

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