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A Democrat And Republican Unite To Take Partisanship Out Of Redistricting

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Gwendolyn Glenn
Former State Rep. Charles Jeter (l) and 92 District State Rep. Chaz Beasley talk about partisan gerrymandering in Catawba Cove, a housing development split at one-time to benefit Republican candidates.

North Carolina has seen several efforts to take partisanship out of redistricting.  The latest appeal comes from two Mecklenburg County residents – District 92 Democratic State Representative Chaz Beasley and Republican Charles Jeter who used to represent that same district.

Beasley and Jeter say Democrats and Republicans have been guilty of creating districts that favor their candidates when they are in the majority. Jeter, who cosponsored legislation that would have created an independent commission to draw the maps says it’s time for the parties to work together to make that happen.

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Credit Gwendolyn Glenn
Former NC Rep. Charles Jeter (center), a Republican, is joined by NC Rep. Chaz Beasley (right), a Democrat and Common Cause Executive Director Bob Phillips (left). They called for an independent redistricting commission to end partisan gerrymandering.

“Representative Beasley and I don’t agree on everything but one thing Beasley and I agree on is that he thinks Democrats can win on the issues and I believe Republicans can win on the issues,” Jeter said. “Let us have that fight.”

The debates on redistricting have been nasty at times and court battles regarding North Carolina’s maps continue over racial and political gerrymandering. Just last month, a U.S. District Court ruled that North Carolina’s Congressional maps were unconstitutional due to partisan gerrymandering. Beasley says this makes the case for an independent commission.

“Let’s put this in the hands of people who don’t have a vested interest in the outcome and let the chips fall where they may and let the parties compete with each other to see whose ideas are going to resonate most,” Beasley said.

Beasley and Jeter made their comments in the Catawba Cove housing development in north Charlotte, a neighborhood that was split in 2011’s legislative map drawing. In the past three elections, some people lived next door to each other but voted in different districts. The district was gerrymandered that way to benefit Republicans but was changed and will be consolidated in the next election.  

The state’s congressional and legislative maps are still being litigated but nothing is expected to change before the 2018 election.