How to Fix Public Records

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Public records are maintained by the government and consist of documents that are accessible to the public. There may come a time when an error in public records pertains to you. In such an instance, you should take it upon yourself to fix the errors. Examples of public records that may contain inaccuracies include criminal records, voter registration records and miscellaneous documents held by the recorder's office, such as deeds. Contact each agency that handles the records to correct any mistakes.

Find your passport or government-issued photo identification. Make sure that the identification properly states your name, address and date of birth that may be incorrect on the public document.

Take your identifying card or passport to the agency where the record is located. For example, if your voter registration contains an incorrect address, take your identification to your local elections office. Request that the agency correct the error in the public record based upon your identification.

Travel to the county recorder's office. Bring copies of the original documents recorded. Give the copies to the recorder's office to correct the documents that they maintain on file. It may be necessary to re-record the copy of the original document. Generally, the recorder's office should not charge you for an error on their part.

Travel to the law enforcement agency that maintains a criminal record in your name. Present to an officer the copies of your original criminal record. Explain to the officer the nature of the error in your public criminal record documents. The officer will investigate the error and make changes if necessary.


  • Birth certificates, identification cards and other similar documents are not public documents. Nevertheless, errors in such documents can be fixed similarly by visiting the respective agency and providing the requisite proof of error.


  • "The Public Record Research Tips Book: Insider Information for Effective Public Record Research"; Michael Sankey; 2008
  • "Archives and the Public Good: Accountability and Records in Modern Society"; Richard J. Cox and David A. Wallace; 2002

About the Author

Andrew Mayfair has written professionally since 2009 when his article on patent law was published in the "Loyola of Los Angeles Entertainment Law Review." Mayfair earned his Bachelor of Science in biochemistry from the University of California, Davis and his Juris Doctor from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law.