If you are looking to retrieve a public record from the state of Washington, the process is now easier and more manageable. Compared to decades ago when you had to fill out a number of forms and go through an array of different processes before you could have your hands on a public record, today's technology allows you to easily retrieve and request a particular public record using online tools.
The state of Washington implies that everyone, resident or not, has a right to inspect, view and copy a number of Washington's public records. (Chapter 42, section 56 of the Revised Code of Washington). In making a request, you are not required to state your reason and purpose for requesting the records. Furthermore, the state cannot choose between individuals and determine who can request the information and who cannot. Wash. Rev. Code - 42.56.080.
Having said that, there are still some limitations regarding which records are open to public and which aren't. Records of Washington's public agencies are open for inspection and can be retrieved for a certain fee. However, select documents are deemed "confidential" by the state and the keeper has the right to reject your request for these specific documents.
Examples of documents that are exempted from the Access Law of Washington are:
It would be to your advantage if you make a direct and specific request to the agency housing the public record that you need. There is no written rule on how you should make the request but it would be best if you list all the specific details you need. Different state agencies hold different record types so a bit of research would be very helpful before you decide to contact a specific Washington agency.
You can go to Public Record Sources and from there search individual records that you need to retrieve. There is a search box where you can put in the First name, Last Name, and State where it is located and Record type of the public record you are looking for. Once you find the record that you need, you can choose to let the website do the entire retrieval job for you, including a thorough background report, for a fixed fee.
Alternatively, if you want to do the retrieval by yourself, you can visit Washington State's official website. From there, you can see links to the state services and agencies that house specific records that you can directly contact to request the documents you need.
For example, if you are looking for records of marriage certificates, you can find them within the official Washington state website under the state's Department of Health. Instructions on how to order, modes of payments, estimated time of processing and contact information of that specific agency is also included, making the process of request and retrieval much easier.
The Contact Page for the official website of the State of Washington can be found at this webpage. With this information, looking for a public record in Washington is now easier and more manageable.
To lookup Washington public records information, contact:Washington State Legislature
Within the state, there are extensive rules and regulations that cover the ability of citizens to gain access to documents containing information about governmental transactions. These rules help to guard and support a person's right to successfully pursue a Washington public records search while at the same time maintaining the balance of individual privacy rights.
The Washington State Archives in Olympia offers a digital archive database on their web site and boasts that it is 'the nation's first archives dedicated specifically to the preservation of electronic records from both State and Local agencies that have permanent, legal, fiscal or historical value.' This database contains more than three and a half million records including public records in Washington such as marriage, naturalization, census, birth, death and military records.
State government records of a historical nature are preserved and maintained at the State Government Archives in Olympia where they document the functions of all branches of state government from the territorial period to present day, making these public records in Washington available to all residents.
Local area Washington public records are housed in one of five regional branch archive locations: Northwest, Southwest, Central, Eastern and Puget Sound Regions, located in Bellevue, Bellingham, Cheney, Ellensburg, and Olympia, respectively.