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County Isn’t Required to Hand Over ACORN Emails

(CN) - A Washington county did not violate the Public Records Act by failing to hand over e-mails regarding voter registration forms submitted by ACORN, the Washington Court of Appeals ruled.

Pam Floyd, the state assistant election director, sent an e-mail to all county auditors after three counties fielded concerns about registration forms issued by the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN).

Pat McCarthy, the Pierce County auditor, permanently deleted the e-mail because she was already award of the problem; in fact, she was one of the auditors who reported it.

The Building Industry Association of Washington (BIAW) sued the county for Public Records Act violations, because the county couldn't produce the e-mail, despite the fact that McCarthy made 615 other documents available.

The trial court sided with the county, and the appeals court affirmed.

"BIAW cites attorney general guidelines that agencies should not delete 'all e-mails after a short period of time (such as 30 days),'" Judge Penoyar wrote. "BIAW's request came almost half a year - not 30 days - after the only e-mails identified had been received."

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