Requesting records from state agencies

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The easiest thing to do is contact the state agencies office. When the phone is answered, say that you'd like to file an open records request and you want to know who at the department handles these matters. You won't be the first person who has called and asked. Normally, the person who answers the phone will immediately be able to tell you the name of the person. Sometimes the person is referred to as "the FOIA compliance officer" or a similar title.

Check that you have the correct spelling of the person's name. Then, ask what address you should use. It is often but not always the address of the main administrative office.

If you prefer to use email, you can also try searching the website of the department in question to see if they list an open records compliance officer. If they don't, you can try searching on the website for the website for contact information and email addresses. If you find it, just send them a quick email asking for the procedure for filing an open records request.

Consider noting in your email that you tried unsuccessfully to find this information on the department's website. A polite request that the district update its website to make it easier for citizens to ask for public records will help those who come after you.

Sunshine Review has developed a number of projects in which they rate state websites for accessibility of information. To search for your state or to contribute to the project, please see: Find Your State.