Are survey responses public records?

Government agencies conduct surveys for a variety of reasons, such as to determine public opinion on an issue, the level of need for a service, or the extent of a problem. The applicability of the Open Public Records Act — and/or common law right of access — to the responses for one such survey is the subject of a lawsuit challenging a denial of access by Saddle River Borough, which posits that the records are exempt as deliberative material. The plaintiff in the case is seeking responses to a survey that would grant the Borough access to private properties to conduct a proposed deer management program. The chair of Saddle River’s Non-Lethal Deer Population Control Committee stated that the survey responses are integral to the Borough’s state DEP application seeking approval of the program.
Bear hunt protester wants access to Saddle River deer management survey responses
by Sarah Nolan, staff writer
April 27, 2018