Drew Reisinger has served as your Register of Deeds since 2011, during which time Buncombe County has experienced a historic increase in the number of marriage licenses issued and an upsurge in real estate transactions. Drew’s effective leadership and use of innovative technology has helped meet these demands while increasing convenience for the public and the professionals who frequent his office and use its website. Drew has also been a statewide leader in increasing transparency, advocating for secure record keeping, and making the office of the Register of Deeds more accessible to all people.
As Long As the Grass Shall Grow
Working together with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (ECBI), Drew used historical records to tell the story of the formation of Buncombe County. This unique project highlighted the broken treaties between the federal government and the Cherokee people and helped give voice to the often overlooked history of this land.
Working together with NC State Archives and State Historian Darin Waters, Drew made previously unavailable records easily accessible. Cohabitation records are the oldest African American marriage records and will help African Americans and genealogists connect further back into the past.
Drew was awarded the Evan Mahaney Champion of Civil Liberties Award by the ACLU for his leadership during the marriage equality movement. Drew was proud to issue the first same-sex marriage licenses in the state of NC on October 10, 2014.
Drew has been recognized by the National Archives, the Society of State Archivists, and the Preservation Society of Asheville and Buncombe County for his groundbreaking Slave Deeds project. Under Drew’s leadership, Buncombe was the first county in the nation to digitize all historic slave deeds. In partnership with the State Archivist and UNC Greensboro, a grant was recently awarded from the National Archives to create a state-wide database of records of slavery. Upon completion of this project, a framework will be in place to make this the national model so that other states can follow suit.
Ending Child Marriage
Research shows that girls who get married under the age of 18 are at risk for adverse life events including domestic violence and reduced life expectancy. Drew has been a leader in the effort to end child marriage in the State of North Carolina. Together with the International Center for Research on Women and the Tahirih Justice Center, Drew worked with legislative leaders to pass a bill that raised the age of marriage. Previously girls as young as 14 could still get married with a pregnancy exemption. The new bill increased the minimum age and introduced an age gap limit between partners. While this was a substantial legislative victory that will protect many children, it was a compromise bill that Drew is committed to improving in his next term.
In 2018, Governor Roy Cooper appointed Drew to the North Carolina State Historical Records Advisory Board. This is the State's central advisory board responsible for historical records planning with the State Archives and the National Archives. On this board, Drew continues to advocate for improved digital access to North Carolina's most important records. Citizens in the mountains and on the coast should be able to easily access North Carolina's historical records, without having to drive to Raleigh.
Civil Marriage Laws
The North Carolina marriage laws are outdated and in need of an overhaul. Drew advocates for broadening access to civil marriage ceremonies in North Carolina. Currently, State law allows two types of marriage ceremonies: religious and civil. In a civil ceremony, NC statutes narrowly define that only magistrate judges can perform civil ceremonies. Because the civil magistrate has many other duties, they only allow schedule time to perform weddings in the courthouse one day per weekday in Buncombe County.
As a member of the Legislative Committee in the Register of Deeds Association, Drew will continue to push legislators to more broadly define who can perform these civil marriage ceremonies. This past legislative session Drew helped draft language for a new option of allowing citizens to become an "officiant for a day". While the bill didn't receive a vote, there was substantial bipartisan support and a commitment to address the topic next session.
Couples shouldn't have to question the legitimacy of their marriage because they wanted to take their vows in front of their friends and family, outside of courthouse hours, or outside of a religious institution. Drew will continue to work with the ACLU to protect freedom of religion and bring North Carolina marriage laws into the 21st century.
As a member of the Legislative Committee of the NC Association of Registers of Deeds, Drew helped push legislation through the General Assembly to stop a fraudulent scam impacting elderly residents of Buncombe County who were being sent fake bills by a fraudulent company. Drew notified NC Attorney General Josh Stein to end this practice at a statewide level. In addition, Drew has worked with local real estate attorneys and media to notify and protect residents from this scam.
Drew is running for re-election in 2024 because he loves serving the people of Buncombe County as the steward of our vital public records. Drew will continue to deliver the service and stewardship that residents deserve and have come to expect from the Register of Deeds office.