Government Records Ohio: Where to Obtain Government Records for the State of Ohio?
The Ohio Public Records Act states that access to information regarding a person's business is public information. All information can be readily accessed by individuals except for laws that are exempt from inspection and copying under the Act.
All records that you request to the office will be promptly available to you. Copies of records, on the other hand, will be provided to you within a stipulated time frame. This time frame depends on the number, location, and volume of the copies you order. In case the records you request need a legal review, the time frame of the copies will be further lengthened.
You can request records from any government office by asking the agency for specific documents. You can even contact the office by phone, email, or through the mail. You do not have to list out why you require the records unless you are specified to do so by law. The agency may redact documents it sees fit, but not before explicitly clarifying the reason for their denial. An agency can deny your request for the following reasons:
- Your request is too broad or vague in nature
- You do not provide your identity after the agency asks for it
- The agency does not house the documents you requested
- At the time of your request, the records are dispersed or unavailable
- You are not willing to pay for a copy of the records
Once your request for viewing the records is accepted, the custodian of the documents is required to provide you with a receipt. if you do not receive a receipt, you will not be given access to a copy of the documents.
The state of Ohio allows you to inspect government records on any media. You have the right to choose the copy medium on which to view the records, including an electronic file, film, paper, or other such mediums. You may have to pay a copying fee, which includes the cost of the products used, computer run time, and the service charge of the employee.
Once the records are copies, you can either pick them up yourself or send someone on your behalf. Moreover, you can request the records be sent to you via mail. The cost of delivery and shipping charges are borne by you. An agency will send you copies of records online if you desire, but they are also obligated to send you hard copies. You are required to pay the costs of postage, mailing, delivery, and transmission, along with the actual costs of the supplies used.
You are not required to pay a fee if you use your own equipment to copy records. For example, if you print or photocopy records using your own equipment, the agency will not charge any money from you. Different agencies have their own rules regarding copying the records with your own equipment.
Inspecting records in business hours
The agency has to make all its records public during official working hours. Working hours are the typical hours a worker spends in the office. For example, even if a police station operates at all hours of the day, they are not obligated to keep their records open for the public at all times. You will only be able to view the records at established business times.
If the agency does not have the records you require, they are not obligated to publish new records or import them from elsewhere. The agency also has the right to reject your request for a record if they consider your inquiry too demanding.
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