Submitting an open records law request is not difficult. A complete, well-written request may help you avoid delays and further correspondence with a government agency.
The form below is designed to help you create a simple letter. It asks you for all pertinent information and guides you through the options available.
You should use this letter generator to request access to records held by a state or local government agency or body (e.g., public school district, public university campus police, state board of health, etc.). If you want to obtain records held by the federal government click here to access the letter generator maintained by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.
State Open Records Law Request
In order to complete this form you must be able to: (1) provide a reasonable description of the public records you are seeking and (2) the name and address of the government official who you believe is responsible for keeping those records.
Once you have entered the information requested, a letter will be generated that includes: (1) the specif ic citation for your state’s open records law and (2) how much time the law allows for an agency to respond. Where no time is specified by law, you will see the words “I would request your written response within 10 working days.” You may wish to change this. (Where no time is specified by law, most courts have required that government officials respond within a “reasonable time.”) Finally, the lett er will note (3) any specific penalties provided for by the law should government officials fail to comply with your request.
Part 1: Instructions
All you have to do is fill in all the information and answer the questions on this page. Once you are done, click on the button that says “Create Letter.” This will NOT send the letter to the agency for you; instead, it sends back a letter as a World-Wide Web page that you can save as a document for editing in your word processor, or send directly to your printer. (The options available depend on your World-Wide Web browsing software.) You should then mail the letter (preferably via certified mail, return-receipt-requested) to the agency or hand deliver it.
Feel free to use this as often as you like until you get a letter you are happy with. One hint: if you use your browser’s features to move back to this page later, rather than follow our links back, your page will still contain the data you have added.
Answer the questions below as if you were providing the information directly to a government office. If a query is actually the start of a sentence, fill in the missing elements of the sentence.
Part 2: Your personal information
|(*Bold characters indicate mandatory fields)
|*Your first name:
|*Your last name:
|Your organization’s name:
|*Your street address:
|Your apartment number/P.O. Box:
|*Your city, state and zip:
|*Your phone number:
Part 3: What you are looking for
Below, clearly describe what you want. Include identifying material, such as names, places, and the period of time about which you are inquiring. If you think they will help to explain what you are looking for, include news clips, reports and other documents describing the subject of your research when you mail your letter.
I request access to and a copy of …
Part 4: Who you are requesting documents from
Enter the name and address of the agency/office where you will send this request:
|*The person’s last name:
|*The person’s saluation:
|Mr. Mrs. Ms.
|*Agency’s street address:
|*Agency’s city, state and zip:
Part 5: Fee Limit
Enter a dollar limit for the amount of fees you are willing to pay. The agency will be told to notify you if the amount will exceed this. If you set an amount up front, the agency will begin to process your request and you can retain some control over the ultimate amount you will have to pay.
Once you receive the finished letter (which should be almost immediately after clicking on the button below), save it to a file on your computer, send it directly to your printer or cut and paste the text into a word processor. If you are printing directly, be sure to remove some of the header options, usually found under a Page Setup menu option on your browser.
If you want to modify your letter, use your “Back” button to return here. You can then modify your answers and resubmit the form. Note that if you choose the “Clear” button below, all the information you typed will be wiped away. We do not collect any information from this form; none of your data will be recorded.
Open Oregon thanks the Student Press Law Center and Gregg Leslie for this extremely helpful service.