What is North Carolina's policy on public records?

Public records are governed by the North Carolina Public Records Law, which deems public records and public information relating to North Carolina government or its subdivisions as property of the people, with certain exceptions.

Who can request public records?

Any person may make a public records request. There is not a formal template that must be used for making a request, and requesters are not required to provide the purpose or motive for the request.

How can requests be delivered?

Depending on information requested, the agency can send responsive documents through email or place them on a compact disc or USB, among other options. When making a request, please specify how you would like to receive responsive documents. The agency is not required to provide records in a format that the agency is not capable of producing.

When will my request be completed?

Under North Carolina law, the agency must respond to requests "as promptly as possible." The time it takes to complete a request depends on a variety of factors, including the breadth of the request, the volume of requests received by the agency, and document review time.

Why was my request denied?

A public records request could be denied for several reasons, with most relating to the inability to release confidential information under state law or the fact that a requested record does not exist. It is important to note that an agency is not required to create or compile a record that does not exist.

Why was information in my request redacted?

Under state law, confidential information includes full or partial Social Security numbers, dates of birth, driver's license numbers, the signature of a voter on a voter registration document, documents protected by the attorney-client privilege, and sensitive security information and trade secrets, among others.  Confidential information will be redacted prior to release.

Will I be charged for my request?

Under North Carolina law, an agency may not charge fees for inspecting records, but may charge when certifying copies of public records. The fee charged cannot exceed the actual cost to the agency for making the copy.