Making Open Records Requests in Georgia

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an image of a person at a government office, confidently filling out paperwork, with sunlight streaming through the window highlighting the stacks of files and the official stamp on the desk

Accessing government information is a fundamental right that allows individuals to hold their government accountable and make informed decisions. One way to exercise this right is by making open records requests, which enable individuals to inspect and obtain public records from government agencies.

In the state of Georgia, the Open Records Act grants individuals this right, with certain exemptions. To navigate this process effectively, it is crucial to understand the responsibilities of the agency and the requirements for making a request.

This article serves as a comprehensive guide to making open records requests, providing step-by-step instructions on how to request, agency contact information, and the process of submitting a request. By familiarizing oneself with this process, individuals can empower themselves to access government information and ensure transparency and accountability in their communities.

How to Request

To request access to government information, individuals should follow the guidelines set forth by the Georgia Open Records Act (ORA). The ORA allows for the inspection and copying of public records, unless they are exempted by law.

It is advisable to provide the request in writing, as this allows for proper documentation. While the ORA does permit oral requests, it is generally recommended to make the request in writing to ensure accuracy and clarity. This also helps protect the requester’s rights, as actions to enforce the ORA can only be based on written requests.

Additionally, using a written format allows for a more systematic and organized approach, ensuring that all necessary information is included and reducing the likelihood of misunderstandings.

Agency Contact Information

The agency’s website provides information about the person responsible for handling requests. This information is crucial for individuals who wish to submit an open records request as it allows them to direct their inquiry to the appropriate individual.

The website typically includes contact details such as the person’s name, title, email address, and phone number. It is important to note that the government agency’s website is a reliable source of information and should be consulted before making a request.

Additionally, the website may also provide relevant information regarding record exemptions. Familiarizing oneself with these exemptions can help requesters understand any potential limitations or restrictions on accessing certain types of government information.

Submitting a Request

Submitting a request for public information involves providing the necessary details and documentation to the government agency’s custodian of the records. To initiate the request process, it is important to clearly state the specific information being sought and provide any relevant context or background. This will help the custodian understand the scope of the request and locate the relevant records more efficiently.

Additionally, it is crucial to adhere to any documentation requirements set forth by the agency. This may include filling out a standardized request form, providing identification or proof of eligibility to access certain types of records, or submitting any additional supporting documents that may be necessary.

By following these documentation requirements, requesters can ensure that their requests are processed properly and in a timely manner.

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