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June 5 Deadline to Register to Vote, Update Info, Change Party in Maryland

The Primary Election will be here soon. Be sure you’re properly registered to vote beforehand.

June 5, 2018 at 9:00 P.M. is the deadline to do the following on the Board of Elections website:

✔ Register to vote (If you miss this deadline and are not registered to vote, you can register at any polling place during Early Voting).
✔ Update your information. (If you miss this deadline and are registered to vote, you can fill out a form to update your information at any polling place during Early Voting.)
✔ Change your party affiliation. (If you miss this deadline you will have to wait until after the Primary Election to change your party affiliation.)

For more information about Early Voting, click here.

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Byron Endorsed for Re-Election by the African Americans in Howard County (AAIHC)

On Tuesday, May 15, Byron was officially endorsed for re-election by the African Americans in Howard County (AAIHC).

AAIHC’s endorsement press release stated the following: “Perhaps an easy endorsement because most Howard Countians seem convinced that Byron belongs to us! He’s sincere, a hard worker, and one who has served us well during his terms as Register of Wills, and he should be re-elected.” AAIHC also declined to endorse either Republican candidate running for Register of Wills, leaving Byron as their sole choice for this office.

Founded over 20 years ago, African Americans in Howard County’s (AAIHC) primary purpose is to endorse political candidates for leadership positions and expand the public policy debate to include racial and economic equality. The views are progressive with an arc toward improving the system for democracy, freedom and opportunity for all.

 

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Perfect Audit Highlights Byron’s Effective Fiscal & Operational Management

“I’ve always said that my first priority as Register is to provide the very best service possible to Howard County families. However, a truly essential aspect of my role as Register is effective fiscal and operational management of my office.

When I was first elected, I undertook a top-to-bottom review of the office’s policies and procedures. I found that some of them were outdated, some made no sense, and some were actually discriminatory. I have spent years working with my staff to modernize our procedures, streamline the probate process, adopt best practices, and ensure equal access to our services. I’m pleased our hard work has paid off both in the outstanding service we provide to the public and in the recognition of this service by the state of Maryland, which issued a perfect audit report for my office in 2015.

In a new term, I pledge to continue to adopt innovative approaches to how we deliver services, continue to seek out new ways to increase efficiency, and continue to be a diligent steward of public resources.”

 

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Byron Chronicles Nearly 200 New Policies, Reforms, Improvements & Upgrades

Byron Macfarlane became Register of Wills for Howard County on December 1, 2010. He took the reigns from his predecessor, who had held the position for 24 years and had worked in the office for 9 years prior to that – 33 years total. After such a long period of time, Byron brought a fresh perspective to how the office operated.

“When I got here, we were issuing receipts in carbon paper triplicate, our file cabinets were overflowing and broken, and we were recording Orphans’ Court hearings with an audio cassette player. It was clear to me we had a lot of work to do to bring this office into the 21st century and streamline our procedures. So I set my staff to the task of beginning a top to bottom review of how we operated. From procurement to technology, from finances to internal communication, we identified many areas that needed improvement. As a result, I’ve implemented nearly 200 new policies, reforms, improvements, and upgrades to ensure we are operating as efficiently as possible.”

Byron’s leadership has allowed his staff to minimize the time they spend on administrative tasks and maximize the time they have to interact with the public. His office has become a model for how government should provide services to people in need. In the next term, he pledges to continue to seek ways to improve efficiency and make his office as user-friendly and flexible as possible for Howard County families.

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Metro Baltimore Council AFL-CIO Endorses Byron for Re-Election

 

On Monday, April 30, Byron was officially endorsed for re-election by the Metro Baltimore Council of the AFL-CIO.

“I’m a proudly pro-labor candidate. As Register of Wills, I’ve made the health, wellness, professional development, and happiness of my employees a top priority. I believe that every worker should be treated with dignity and respect and should know they have a boss who cares about their well-being. I’m extremely grateful to the Metro Baltimore Council for their endorsement. With their help, I’ll continue to manage a positive, collaborative, supportive, caring work environment for my dedicated staff.”

The Metro Baltimore Council is one of nearly 500 state and local labor councils of the AFL-CIO and are the heart of the labor movement. They are democratically elected bodies dedicated to represent the interests of working people at the state and local level. They mobilize their members and community partners to advocate for social and economic justice and strive daily to vanquish oppression and make communities better for all people—regardless of race, color, gender, religion, age, sexual orientation, or ethnic or national origin.

 

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Byron Sweeps Democratic Club Endorsements, Demonstrates Overwhelming Support in Primary Election

 

Byron Macfarlane has officially been endorsed for re-election by all three of Howard County’s Democratic Clubs. This clean sweep demonstrates Byron’s overwhelming and enthusiastic support in the Democratic primary election.

“I’m truly honored to be endorsed by the Columbia Democratic Club, the Thurgood Marshall Democratic Club, and the Ellicott City & Western Howard Democratic Club.

I’ve been an active Democrat in this county since I was just 16 years old. I’ve been an active member of these clubs for years. They’re comprised of some of the most dedicated, driven, hard-working,  and passionate Democrats I’ve ever known. We’ve fought together on the front lines for years and we’re ready to do it again in 2018. I’m humbled and grateful for the outpouring of support for my campaign and eager to take my record of accomplishment and service to the voters.”

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Byron Endorsed for Re-Election by the Columbia Democratic Club

On Saturday, April 28 at the Roger Carter Community Center, Byron was endorsed for re-election by the Columbia Democratic Club.

“I want to thank my fellow members of the Columbia Democratic Club for their endorsement today. The CDC endorsed me in 2010 and 2014 and I’m honored to be endorsed again in the 2018 election. I’ve been a member of this club for 14 years and have worked side by side with these men and women to advocate for progressive policy and elect Democrats.

Columbia’s founder, James Rouse, said, “What ought to be, can be.” Today, we carry on that pioneering spirit as we work to build a fairer, more equal, more just society for everyone. As Register of Wills, I’ve worked to create an office that cares for people and treats everyone with dignity and respect. In the coming term, I’ll build on what we’ve achieved and continue to advocate for reforms that make probate faster and fairer for Howard County families.”

 

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Byron Endorsed for Re-Election by the Thurgood Marshall Democratic Club

On Wednesday, April 25 in Columbia, Byron was endorsed for re-election by the Thurgood Marshall Democratic Club.

“I’m proud to be endorsed for re-election by the Thurgood Marshall Democratic Club. Justice Marshall was a legal giant and pioneer who had inspired so many Americans to fight for equality and justice. As Register of Wills, I rescinded discriminatory policies enacted by my Republican predecessor. I’m the first Register of Wills in Howard County history to hire people of color as deputies and auditors. I was the first and only courthouse official to call for the removal of the Confederate monument from the courthouse grounds in 2017. And I ensure that every person who comes to my office for help is treated equally, with care, dignity, and respect. I pledge to continue this tradition in another term.”

The Thurgood Marshall Democratic Club was established in 2011 to promote the political empowerment and advancement of people of color in Howard County, Maryland.

 

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Equal Treatment for All Howard County Residents Assured Under Byron’s Leadership

“When I became Register of Wills, I was determined to re-shape the culture of my office to align with my values as a lifelong Howard Countian and as a progressive Democrat. The culture in every workplace is shaped by its leadership and the vision and policies they implement. I made my vision clear: to ensure that every husband, wife, son, daughter, partner, relative, and friend who calls my office or comes through our door is treated with dignity and respect.

A few weeks into my term, I observed one of my staff members talking with a woman whose husband had just passed away. The woman was told that we could not open an estate for her husband. I asked to speak with my staff member privately. I asked why she wasn’t able to help the woman at her desk. She told me that she couldn’t open an estate because the woman’s husband was not a United States citizen, rather he was a citizen of Hungary. Now, the only legal requirement for us to open an estate for someone who has passed away is that they were domiciled here, meaning they simply lived here. After speaking with several of my staff members, all of whom I inherited from my Republican predecessor, I discovered that it was standing office policy to refuse to open estates for Howard County residents who were not U.S. citizens. I was stunned. I asked the staff to show me where in Maryland law this prohibition or rule existed. They search through books and notes to find something to justify this policy only to come up empty-handed. It was clear to me that this policy, whether born out of ignorance or prejudice, was simply invented out of thin air by my predecessor and had been dutifully followed by the staff for many years. I instructed my employee to open the estate for the woman at her desk and allow her to move forward with seeing to her husband’s affairs. While I was relieved I was able to intervene and see that this grieving widow received the help she needed, I couldn’t help but wonder just how many Howard County families had been turned away over the years. We’ll never know how many people were left to fend for themselves because my predecessor simply made up an ignorant and prejudiced rule without any regard for the impact it would have on people’s lives. However, I ended this unconscionable policy and as long as I’m Register will ensure that in my office, every Howard County resident, regardless of immigration or citizenship status, is treated equally under the law.

This was one of the first of nearly 200 office policies and procedures I have changed since taking office. I share it as an example of why the right leadership and the right values matter in this role. I hope in the years ahead to continue to foster a culture of service and equality to everyone my office serves.”

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Byron Celebrates Earth Day by Promoting 90% Reduction in Paper Records

Managing and storing voluminous paper records is time-consuming and expensive. That’s why I brought together my fellow Registers, legislators in Annapolis, and our state archivists to change how we store our paper files. For many years, it’s been our practice to scan and image all papers filed in our office. Since we have these reliable, high-resolution digital records, we decided to eliminate the need to keep paper records indefinitely, and now eventually dispose of them (except for testamentary documents like Wills and Codicils). After several years of hard work, this paper reduction initiative has reduced our permanent paper records by 90%. Changing “how it’s always been done” is never easy so I’m proud we were able to adopt a more modern approach to record-keeping and save taxpayers dollars at the same time.

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