All records of the Board of Elections are public, unless they are specifically exempt from disclosure under the Ohio Revised Code. “Record” includes any document or device, whether paper, electronic, or other format, which is created or received under the jurisdiction of this office and which documents the organization, functions, policies, decisions, procedures, operations, or other activities of the office.
No specific language is required to make a request, but the requester must identify records with sufficient clarity to allow the office to identify, retrieve, and review the records. If it is not clear what records are being sought, the Board of Elections staff should ask the requester for clarification and assist the requester in revising the request informing them of the manner in which this office maintains and accesses its records. The requester need not put a request in writing, or provide his or her identity or the intended use of the requested records. It is this office’s general policy that this information should not be requested.
VIEWING PUBLIC RECORDS
Inspection of public records must be made available promptly. Copies of public records must be made within a reasonable period of time. “Promptly” and “reasonable period of time” take into account the volume of records requested, where the records are stored, and time for any legal review and/ or redaction. Records prepared for inspection may be viewed during regular business hours (Monday-Friday, 8:00am-4:30pm), with the exception of published holidays.
MEDIUM OF RESPONSE & COST
The Board of Elections will provide copies of public records on paper, on the medium which they are kept, or on any other medium that the Board determines it reasonably can be copied as an integral part of the normal operations of the office There is no cost for viewing (inspecting) public records. Copies of public records may be charged at the following rates (actual costs) and must be paid for in advance:
- Photo Copies (per page)….$.10
- Public Records on CD……$1
- Electronic Records E-mailed to requester… no charge
- Records mailed to requester… postage/delivery fee charged to requester
DENIAL OF REQUEST OR FAILURE TO RESPOND
It is the policy of the Board of Elections to strictly adhere to the state’s Public Records Act. All exemptions to openness are to be construed in their narrowest sense and any denial of public records in response to a valid request must be accompanied by an explanation, including legal authority, as outlined in the O.R.C. If a person believes this office has failed to comply with the Ohio Public Records Act, they may file a court petition in mandamus:
- to compel the office to comply with the request,
- to seek payment of statutory damages,
- for court costs, and
- to have the office pay the requester’s attorney fees.