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  • Writer's pictureAletheia

New PDF and Video Guides to Open Records!

Great news! Dane Undivided is done just telling you about troubling stuff unfolding in Dane County. We're going to start equipping you to create change!

We've just published the first in a series of guides packed with powerful grassroots tools for citizens. We've even created a new resources page on our website, in order to share what we're offering more easily. These handy PDFs and videos will help you make a difference right here in Dane County...and beyond.

We've started with new PDF and video guides to Open Records Requests!

Why did we start there...?

Open records requests, or ORRs, are one of the simplest and most versatile methods of gaining insight into the communications and activities of state and local government. They're your ticket to getting almost any kind of existing documentation from any Wisconsin state or local public official or agency. From emails to invoices, internal policy memos to body cam footage, you'll be amazed at what you can obtain.

Using open records law (contained in Chapter 19 of the Wisconsin State Statutes), you can query any state or local public entity, including, but certainly not limited to:

  • the Governor or state legislators

  • the county executive

  • your county or village board

  • the public health department

  • county and municipal clerks

  • city or county engineers or inspectors

  • planning and zoning boards/committees

  • accounts payable/receivable

  • law enforcement agencies

  • public school teachers, administrations, or boards

  • anyone else you can think of who holds public office or employment

To start leveraging this remarkable tool, watch the video version of our guide below...or, catch it on our Brighteon, Rumble, or Vimeo channel.

The video provides the most crucial information for you to be able to start writing and submitting open records. It's way, way easier to do so than you think.

Have questions after viewing the video?

Leverage our full PDF guide, either below or on our resources page. The PDF version offers additional insights, answers many more questions, and even provides some troubleshooting assistance, in case you run into a tricky situation. Download your own free copy by saving or exporting the document to your hard drive.

Government shouldn't hold all the cards. Citizens need leverage to keep government from abusing the authority we've granted to it. Shining light on state or local government's activities through the acquisition of open records is frequently the first step for the citizen in gaining that leverage and the start of achieving real accountability.

If you've never written or submitted an open records request before, try it! It's an incredibly empowering experience to ask government for records and receive back what you're after.

Our primary goal, of course, is to assist people right here in Dane County to build a more open, honest, and friendly community. However, open records requests can be used by anyone! If you're from another county or even another state or country, you can still use the information we've provided to access public records in Wisconsin at the state and local levels.

We're already hard at work on additional resources. Keep an eye on the resources page. We'll publish more guides there as we complete them. For now, dig in and enjoy our new PDF and video guides to open records requests. We trust they'll take you a long way!

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