New Jersey’s Open Public Records Act (OPRA), effective in July 2002, is one of the best tools the public has to obtain information about what government is doing.

OPRA requests must be in writing. While many governmental entities have a specific form for this purpose, you are not required to use it. In fact, legally you can send an email request in most cases, with the description of the records you are seeking in the body of the email itself. Importantly, the email must clearly state “OPRA request” in the email. Also, you should include your name, address, phone number and email address so the records custodian may contact you. (However, there is no legal requirement to identify yourself when making an OPRA request – the OPRA law allows you to submit a request anonymously.)

Specify how you want to receive your records – fax, hard copy, or electronic file sent via email or on CD. CD and paper materials can be mailed or picked up. Also, if you request an electronic file, you can specify a particular file format, such as PDF or Excel.

Governmental offices must supply you the record in the file format requested if it’s readily available. For example, for a document typically created in Excel, like a budget, you should be able to get the Excel worksheet.

Get OPRA Form

All OPRA request forms and/or emails shall be submitted Requests may also be faxed to (609)296-5352.