FOIAing election records, October 22, 2010

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FOIAchat was a weekly conference on Twitter from 2 PM to 3 PM EST under the hashtag #foiachat. The discussion invited collaboration between activists, citizens, bloggers and journalists on public records requests topics. Topics included the Freedom of Information Act and state equivalents, open meetings laws, and related issues.

FOIAchat was decommissioned in 2013. Read our legal disclaimer.

11 contributors



  • Election records to FOIA:
    • EoD poll tapes, Inspectors' reports (local canvass), reports from the database. Most times, these do not agree.
    • Financial disclosure records.
    • Property records, court documents. Even though they're not election documents, they can tell much about someone running for election.
    • Election Law Followed implies Record exists. Thus no record implies an election law violation.
    • You can FOIA for the names of those requesting absentee ballots and special ballots.
  • Campaign finance is a favorite topic: there's an infinite amount of stories to be done.
  • Disclosure requirements make a big difference as to context.
  • Nearly everything electronic is shielded by trade secret claims.
  • Adaptive provision of data: the market is citizen watchdogs. There are motives beyond money to FOIA for data.