Are Voter Information and Other Records Requests Public Records?
Q: I am trying to determine if the following are public records in California :
1) Voter information (the County election dept. says it is not due to privacy laws and CA Law 2194- I may be off on the law’s statute)
2) Information as to what others have requested as public records (for example, I would ask the County and city to provide me with what public documents one person has requested; I would then be asking for a copy of the forms completed by that person for his public records request).
1. Voter Information. Under California’s Public Records Act, “the home address, telephone number, e-mail address, precinct number, or other number specified by the Secretary of State for voter registration purposes, and prior registration information shown on the voter registration card for all registered voters, are confidential and shall not be disclosed to any person, except pursuant to Section 2194 of the Elections Code.” Govt. Code Section 6254.4. Under Section 2194 of the Elections Code, this information will be provided to “any candidate for federal, state, or local office, to any committee for or against any initiative or referendum measure for which legal publication is made, and to any person for election, scholarly, journalistic, or political purposes, or for governmental purposes, as determined by the Secretary of State.” Govt. Code Section 2194(a)(3). Section 2188 of the Government Code sets forth the requirements for applications to obtain voter information. While you may not be able to obtain the particular information you are seeking, you might at least ask to fill out an application pursuant to Section 2188 of the Elections Code.
2. Information as to Others’ PRA Requests. The PRA is written in terms of records (“public record” is defined as “any writing containing information relating to the conduct of the public’s business prepared, owned, used, or retained by any state or local agency regardless of physical form or characteristics,” Govt. Code Section 6252) rather than information. If a government agency has records that reflect PRA requests made by particular individuals, then those records might well be public records available under the PRA.