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 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 consistent. Good news – the Sunshine Request team handles this part for you!

Here’s an example of a good request:

Hello! I would like to make a public records request to the City of Asheville for records around the utilization of City Parking Decks from 01/01/2016 to 12/31/2016. I would ideally like receive those documents in a machine readable format such as CSV. Thank you for your assistance!

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!

I would like to make a public records request for emails related to the Public Safety Committee meeting on 02/27/2017. These emails could be between the council members of the Public Safety Committee, or from staff or citizens related to items discussed at that meeting. Thank you for your assistance!


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