Records Request FAQs

What is a public record?

NCGS § 132-1 defines public records as “all documents, papers, letters, maps, books, photographs, films, sound recordings, magnetic or other tapes, electronic data-processing records, artifacts, or other documentary material, regardless of physical form or characteristics, made or received pursuant to law or ordinance in connection with the transaction of public business by any agency of North Carolina government or its subdivisions.”

All records maintained by Union County are available for public inspection unless exempted by law. Please note, as further explained below, that some requests for information may fall into the category of a research question or research request – such requests are not proper requests for existing “public records.” The County may not have documents that are responsive to your information request.


What if I have a request that is not necessarily a record, but a question?

Depending on a general question, we recommend searching the Union County website and if you are unable to confirm information, then reaching out to the appropriate department. Please note, if you are requesting information that is not currently maintained in an existing record by the County, the County does not create or compile such records outside of its regular business needs.

Are all records public records?

Although most information maintained by Union County is public and subject to disclosure, there are several legal exceptions to the right of access. These exceptions generally fall into one of two categories: (1) confidential records, which the County is prohibited from releasing except under specified conditions, or (2) non-public records, to which there is no right to public access, but which the County may release in the discretion of the records custodian. Some examples of confidential records may include, but are not limited to, personnel files, trade secrets, social services records, account numbers, tax information, and social security numbers. Examples of non-public records may include, but are not limited to, criminal investigation records, economic development records, public security records, and informal bids prior to award.

Why was my request redacted?

A document that contains confidential (or non-public) information does not necessarily make the entire document exempt from public inspection.  In this instance, the County will delete or redact the confidential (or non-public) information contained in the document and make the remaining information available to you. Please note that if a record must be redacted, additional review time will be necessary before release.


How do I submit a public records request?

Please visit Union County's Public Records portal to submit your request. If you need assistance, please contact Public Communications at 704.283.3571 or email

How long will it take to receive a response?

Union County responds to all requests for information as promptly as possible. Requests that span multiple agencies or departments, or requests that need to be reviewed for confidential or non-pubic information may take longer to fulfill.  The more specific you are when making your request, the easier it will be for us to process it and help you receive your records in a timely manner.

How can I check the status of my request?

You will receive an email notification any time there is new information related to your request. If you wish to check the status of your request, you can:

  1. Reply directly to one of the notification emails you received from the online portal about your request. Any reply sent to a request notification email will go directly to the person working on your request.
  2. Log into your account and go directly to your request. Once on the request, click the "Envelope" icon in the top right corner to send your message. 

Will I be charged for my request?

Fees for fulfilling a public records request vary depending on the scope of the request. Per NCGS § 132-1, the County may charge fees to fulfill a records request if deemed necessary. If you need to pay a fee for your records request to be fulfilled, Union County will notify you and send you an invoice.

How can I learn more about NC Public Records law?

Please click here to view the North Carolina Public Records law.