Transparency checklist

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A transparency checklist is a 10 point list of website transparency features that citizens in any part of the United States should be able to find when they visit the websites of counties, cities, school districts and state agencies. While steps like the Freedom of Information Act have led to a more open government.

The 10 point transparency checklist was created by Sunshine Review. They believed that government should participate in affirmative disclosure. As such, they conducted transparency evaluations to encourage open government, a political doctrine which holds that the business of government and state administration should be opened at all levels to effective public scrutiny and oversight.

Requesting an evaluation

Transparency evaluations are conducted upon request. Please email us to request an evaluation. Ballotpedia does not conduct comprehensive, annual evaluations for all municipalities or school districts.

In your request please include the following:

  • a link to the website, and
  • links to where the information (see checklist parameters) that will be evaluated can be found on the website.

Comments or questions

If you find that any of the information that is posted on your government entity's website is false, not up-to-date, or has been taken down please send an email to let us know. We will review the information and evaluate if the government entity's score needs to be adjusted.


Sunshine Review approached transparency with an attitude that "if it's there, then it's transparent." To decide what should be on the checklist, they sent out surveys to various organizations and compiled the most common items on the list of responses to create our transparency checklist. Evaluations included the following 10 basic items, items they felt should be addressed and provided by government websites.

The 10 point transparency list

Meetings Y
600px-Yes check.png
Elected Officials Y
600px-Yes check.png
Administrative Officials Y
600px-Yes check.png
Permits, zoning
Contracts N
600px-Red x.png
Lobbying N
600px-Red x.png
Public records
Local taxes
County websitesGuide.png
Transparency grading process

The checklists are unique to the entity being evaluated with school districts and statewide websites having a different set of criteria. The most common factors of the transparency checklist are listed below with the rational for why these items should be on every government website. Anderson County, S.C. provides an example of an evaluated website.

Click "show" to read more about the parameters used in the transparency checklist.

School checklist

Main page: School transparency checklist

Note that the checklist is tailored for information that is or should be readily available on school websites. This includes academic performance documents such as test scores, dropout and graduation rates.

State agency checklist

Main page: State transparency checklist

Note checklist parameter differences such as "lobbying/advocacy," "elected officials" and "FOIA" information.

Recent news

This section displays the most recent stories in a google news search for the term "U.S. + Government + Transparency"

All stories may not be relevant to this official due to the nature of the search engine.

U.S. government transparency News Feed

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See also

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External links