Ohio Open Records Law allows the public to inspect and request copies of public records. The law defines public records as “records kept by any public office,” regardless of physical form or characteristic.

Records Search

Court, Criminal, Marriage, Divorce, Property

Copies of public records should be requested from the office where the record was created. Requests may be made in any format (in person, over the phone, or via email, fax, or mail), though many offices prefer written requests. In Ohio, the person making the request does not have to disclose their identity, though they do have to specify how they would like to receive the copies of the records. Requests should describe the records sought in sufficient detail to allow them to be located. Sample Ohio Open Records request letters may be found online.

In Stark County, some government offices make records accessible online, while others do not. Property records, including deeds, mortgages, and easements, are searchable online through through the Stark County Recorder Online Services. A deed is the document that legally transfers ownership of real property from one party to another, while an easement is a document showing that one part has legal use to a portion of land owned by someone else.

Vital records, such as birth and death certficiates, are not available online but may be requested through the Stark County Health Department’s online request for Vital Records portal. The Health Department also keeps a variety of permits related to environmental health and safety, such as certain building or occupational permits, such as plumber’s licences.

Records from the Stark County Sheriff’s Office may be requested from their Records Department online. Incident and accident reports are always accessible, but reports from some ongoing investigations may not be made available to the public until the investigation is closed.

There is often a nominal fee for physical copies of records, typically $0.10 per page. Digital copies, delivered through email, and inspection of records does not incur this fee in Ohio. These fees may be waived if the records contain information understood as in the public interest.