Q: Are student government election results at a public high school public records? My school only announces who won and does not provide the actual vote tally.
A: The answer will probably depend on the wording of your state’s open records law. In the only case we are aware of to date, the Virginia State Supreme Court declined to order disclosure of student vote tallies under that state’s access law, ruling that they were exempt as “scholastic records.” Other states — whose laws are different — might rule differently. Certainly, a strong argument can be made that holding closed-door elections that lack such basic accountability as a vote tally is a lousy way to teach civics or to introduce students to the voting process.
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