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Do-it-yourself Research Projects

TRUE the VOTE Research takes a hands-on approach to verifying the accuracy of information used to form data sets
in election processes, like voter registries and recall petitions. Weve developed online technologies so that citizens
can research their own voter registries and take action to report errors.These efforts encourage our government to
improve its registry management and discourage attempts by outside parties who intentionally submit fraudulent
registrations and records. True the Vote research also provides much needed petition data verification capabilities,
as well as interstate voter registration data analysis.

Should you cite laws in an ORR?


Depending on the type of information
youre after, citing the appropriate open
records law can be key to a successful
request. Concerned citizens tend to
throw around the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) as a catch-all but this
can cause problems. A public information officer may deny your request if you
are not specific enough in your request.
Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)
This Act allows you to submit requests
for public information only to offices of
the United States Federal Government.
Your States Open Records Law If
youre in the hunt for documents held
and/or generated by a municipality,
county, state or other political jurisdiction, the local open records law should
cover your right to ask for it.
National Voter Registration Act This
Act contains a citizens right to public
inspection of files held by election
officials that pertain to voter registration activities and the efforts to ensure
accuracy of the same. This law is most
commonly directed to county/municipal
voter registrars and statewide officials.
Beware: some jurisdictions may honor
this right by only allowing you to review
requested documents in person.

Are there exceptions?


Between the FOIA and your states open records law, you may find that some requests
will be denied in full or in part thanks to
exceptions. When filing a request, be careful to avoid asking for documents that may
detail sensitive personal information, secure
government procedures (where public
disclosure could encourage fraud/abuse) or
needlessly expose key details of ongoing law
enforcement investigations.

Fellow patriots, allow us to introduce you to the wonderful world of Open Records Requests ...

What is an Open Records Request (ORR)?


An ORR is simply a written request for state or county level government
documents that are not already available in the public domain. As a US
Citizen, you have the right to request any document owned or handled by the
government since, by definition, we are all the government. States generally
have few exceptions to ORR laws, typically including records with sensitive
personal information or files pertaining to active investigations.

Who can submit?


You! Those residing in the jurisdiction of the government office that the request
is being made are best suited to submit an ORR. In some cases, you may even
be able to get a reduced processing/copy fee if you represent an established
nonprofit and are using the information requested to educate for the public
good. Be sure to include your ORR on letterhead if you qualify.

How do you know what to ask for in an ORR?


Drafting an ORR is a delicate balancing act between making the request
broad enough so that the appropriate state or county agency can locate the
information you are looking for, yet specific enough that they can search for
the documents without generating a cumbersome amount of pages to process.
You can send an ORR request for a specific document, a series of documents, or
documents related to a specific subject.

A FEW PRACTICAL SUGGESTIONS


Be clear and specific. Your ORR must
clearly describe the records you are
asking for, which means that the
text of your request must be specific
enough so that a government employee can locate the record(s) with
a realistic amount of effort.
Make sure your request is reasonable
in scope. The county can deny your
request if it is too broad, so keep it
focused. You can always broaden your
request later on. Always provide a
date range when possible.

www.truethevote.org

Keep your request brief. Include necessary supporting information, but


avoid lengthy narratives or excessive
collateral materials.
Specify whether you want the
records in paper form or electronically. Records may be provided in
an electronic form (for example,
on a CD-ROM or by e-mail) when
requested and if available. This will
usually lower your cost and speed
up your request.

Know Your States Open Records Law


Although many state laws do not require you to cite the proper name of your
local public records law, demonstrating your knowledge makes for a much more
formal request and better first impression.
Alabama Open Records Law

36-12-40 et seq.

Nebraska Public Records Law

84-712 et seq.

Alaska Open Records Law

A.S. Code 40-25-110 et seq.

Nevada Open Records Act

239 et seq.

Arizona Public Records Law

39.101 et seq.

New Hampshire Right to Know Law

R.S.A. Ch. 91-A et seq.

Arkansas Freedom of Information Act

25-19-101 et seq.

New Jersey Open Public Records Act

N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1 et seq.

Colorado Open Records Law

24-72-201 et seq.

New Mexico Inspection of


Public Records Act

14-2-1 NMSA 1978 et seq.

Connecticut Freedom of
Information Act

1-200 et seq.

New York Freedom of Information Law

N.Y. Pub. Off. Law sec. 84 et seq.

Delaware Freedom of Information Act

100001 et seq.

North Carolina Public Records Law G.S.

132-1

Florida Sunshine Law

Article I, section 24 of the Florida


Constitution / chapter 119, F

North Dakota Open Records


Statute N.D.C.C.

44-04-18 et seq.

Georgia Open Records Act

50.18.70 et seq.

Ohio Open Records Law

149.43 et seq.

Hawaii Open Records Law

91-1 et seq.

Oklahoma Open Records Act 51

24A.1 et seq.

Idaho Public Records Act

9-337 et seq.

Oregon Public Records Law O.R.S.

192.410 et seq.

Illinois Freedom of Information Act

5 ILCS 140

Pennsylvania Right to Know Law 65

66.1 et seq.

Indiana Access to Public Records Act

5-14-3-1 et seq.

Rhode Island Access to Public


Records Act

38-2-1 et seq.

Iowa Open Records Law

22.1 et seq.

South Carolina Freedom of


Information Act

30-4-10 et seq.

Kansas Open Records Act

45-215 et seq.

South Dakota Sunshine Law

1-27-1 et seq.

Kentucky Open Records Act

61.872 et seq.

Tennessee Open Records Act

10-7-503 et seq.

Louisiana Public Records Act

44:1 et seq.

Texas Public Information Act

Texas Government Code Annotated


Section 552.001 et seq.

Maine Freedom of Access Act

402 et seq.

Utah Government Records Access


and Management Act

63-2-101 et seq.

Maryland Public Information Act

Chapter 7(C), Article - General


Provisions: GP 4-206

Vermont Public Records Law

315 et seq.

Massachusetts Public Records Act

66-10 et seq.

Virginia Freedom of Information Act

2.2-3704 et seq.

Michigan Freedom of Information Act

15.231 et seq.

Washington Public Records Act

42.56 et seq.

Minnesota Government Data


Practices Act

13.01 et seq.

West Virginia Freedom of


Information Act

29-B-1-1 et seq.

Mississippi Public Records Act

25-61-1 et seq.

Wisconsin Open Records Law

19.31 et seq.

Missouri Sunshine Law

610.023 et seq.

Wyoming Sunshine Law

16-4-201 et seq.

Montana Public Records Act

2-6-101 et seq.

True the Vote (TTV) is an IRS-designated 501(c)(3) voters rights organization, founded to inspire and equip voters for involvement at every stage of our electoral process. TTV
empowers organizations and individuals across the nation to actively protect the rights of legitimate voters, regardless of their political party affiliation. For more information,
please visit www.truethevote.org.