Public Records Requests

Public Records Law

The Massachusetts Public Records Law provides that every person has a right of access to public information. This right of access includes the right to inspect, copy or have copies of records provided, upon the payment of a reasonable fee.

Requests may be made in person or in writing, although written requests will ensure that the municipality responds with more accuracy and efficiency to the request. A reasonable description of the document(s) requested should be provided, to assist the custodian in identifying the requested documents. To the extent feasible and to facilitate accurate and timely response, the requestor should specify the records by reference to maker of the records, or date(s) of the records, or topic of the records, or other identifying detail of the records sought. The custodian has up to 10 business days to provide a response to the request. The custodian is only required to provide records that are in existence and is not required to create a new record based on material in his/her custody to accommodate a specific request.

The municipal records access officer for the Town of Dover is Felicia S. Hoffman, Town Clerk, P.O. Box 250, Dover, MA  02030.  She may also be contacted at 508-785-0032 ext. 226, or emailed at townclerk@doverma.org, or by fax at 508-785-2341.  Hours of operation for the Town Clerk’s Office are:  Monday, Wednesday, Friday 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m., and Tuesday and Thursday 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

The cost for copies of written documents is 5¢ per page for photocopies or computer printouts. Additional fees may be charged for over-sized documents (such as maps and plans, which cannot be copied with a normal photocopier), and for staff time to search for the records, prepare for copying, photocopy and re-file. The custodian is required to provide the requester with a good-faith estimate of the cost if expected to exceed $10.

Additional Resources

For further information, or to download a Guide to the Public Records Law, please also visit the http://www.sec.state.ma.us/pre/prepra/praguidelines.htm.

If you are not sure where the record you seek is filed locally, you may contact the State Registry of Vital Records and Statistics.

The State Registry of Vital Records and Statistics

The Massachusetts State Registry of Vital Records and Statistics maintains a central index and has copies of records for all births, deaths and marriages which occurred in the state of Massachusetts.

Certified copies may be obtained through the Registry in person, by mail or by phone. To order using a credit card call (617) 740-2606. Regardless of how you request copies, you should be prepared to provide the name of the subject(s) of the record, the date of the event and, if known, the city or town where the event occurred.

The Registry is located at 150 Mt. Vernon Street, 1st floor, in Dorchester. For further information regarding operating hours and fees of records please call (617) 740-2600. Their mailing address is:

Registry of Vital Records and Statistics
150 Mt. Vernon Street, 1st Floor
Dorchester, Massachusetts 02125-3105