Requesting Records

Posted on August 6, 2016 · Posted in Video Directory

A request for public records can be initiated in person, by mail, e-mail, fax, or over the telephone. You may be able to obtain the addresses and telephone numbers of state agencies in current telephone directories, or the telephone number of an agency by calling the Olympia area information operator at 360-753-5000 or outside Olympia 1-800-321-2808.

Contact information for state agencies may be found on the Access Washington website

Many local (county and city) contact details are contained in this Washington Coalition for Open Government link.


Each state and local agency is required to provide assistance to citizens in obtaining public records and to explain how the agency’s public records process works. If you request certain public records, the agency must make them available to you for inspection or copying (unless they are exempt from disclosure) during customary office hours of that agency. You should make your request as specific as you can. A written request helps to identify specific records you wish to inspect. Many agencies have a public records request form they will ask you to use. An agency is required to respond to your request within five working days of receipt, either with the records, or with an explanation when records would be available, or if the agency denies acces, in which case it must cite a specific Public Records Act exemption to the records’ discolosure.

After your inspection of records, you may identify those records you desire and, if copying does not disrupt agency operations, copies can be promptly made for you. The agency may enact reasonable rules to protect records from damage or disorganization and to prevent disruption of agency operations.

There are requirements for state and local agencies to establish an index as an aid to locating public records. The index is to be published and made available to those who request it.

Should access to records be denied, you are entitled to a review of your request by the agency, or by contacting the Wshington State Attorney General’s Olympia Office:

Nancy Krier

Assistant Attorney General for Open Government



Useful Links and Tips:

Sample Public Records Request Letter

Make Public Records Request Specific

Agencies’ Response to Records Requests

Fees for Records