Here is a quick guide on how to make an effective and successful records request.

To start, we always recommend the following principles:

  • Be specific

    • It’s important that you are specific and reasonable in what you are requesting. Remember that the larger your request, the more time it usually takes to fulfill.
  • Be nice

    • Seriously – it makes a difference. Use words like “please” and “thank you,” and respect the time and efforts of the person who is handling your request.
  • Be persistent

    • When you submit a request, it’s important to request a timeline when the request might be fulfilled, and to follow up consistently. Good news – the Sunshine Request team handles this part for you!

Here’s an example of a good request:

Hello Buncombe County, NC Government!

I would like to make a public records request for the following information:

Please provide a list of all Buncombe County Gov. employee salaries from 01/01/18 – 05/31/18. I would ideally like to receive the document in a machine readable format such as a CSV.

Thank you very much for your assistance with this request!

You can also request documents, or even communication records such as emails. However, emails can be labor intensive to gather and review, so we recommend you request a limited timeframe:

Hello City Of Asheville, NC Government!

I would like to make a public records request for the following information:

Please provide a list of all emails sent and received from 01/01/16  – 05/31/16 between Councilpersons [name] and [name] related to “City Parking Decks,” “parking,” and “parking decks.” I would ideally like to receive those documents in a PDF format.

Thank you very much for your assistance with this request!


Ready to make a request? Simply fill out the form and we’ll take it from there!