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Local Industries Promote Voter Registration

Several Lincoln County industries are coming together to promote voter registration as a way to protect jobs. Jerry Deese, vice president at Mohican Mills, is one of the main organizers of the effort. Deese said with the wide-spread loss of American jobs, he would like workers to be educated on what the candidates for public office are doing about job protection. “We want them to look at which ones would most help our job losses and give them the opportunity to sign up to vote,” he said. Deese has held several meetings to prepare for the drive, beginning in November of last year. A voter registration day will be held February 10 for several surrounding industries. Deese said having a specific day to register allows for more voters to come on the rolls in one gathering. “There is no question that there are more people who vote because of this, he said. “There are a lot of people who are scared to register or may not know how to do the paperwork.” The program will have each participating industry have a designated area to vote. There will also be company representatives who will be there to help fill out forms. A courier will be provided by Mohican Mills to pick up completed registration forms on February 11 to deliver the forms to the County Board of Elections. The Lincoln County industries participating are Belding-Hausman, Carolina Mills, Carolina Roller & Supply, Fabrictex, McMurray Fabrics, Mohican Mills, South Fork Industries, Textile Piece Dyeing, The Timken Company and Warp Knit Mills. Textile employment nation-wide fell by a staggering ten percent in 2003, the second worst annual performance for the industry in the last half century, and nearly 50 additional textile mills shut their doors. Overall, more than one out of every four textile jobs that existed in the United States just 46 months ago has disappeared, according to the American Textile Association.