Young: Colorado deletes public records when they matter most

Colorado Newsline: A government of the people is transparent, with its records open to the people. But sitting in the middle of Colorado government is an enormous shredder, and officials keep it running every day at all hours. State government during the pandemic performs functions that, for the people on whose behalf it operates, are literally a matter of life and death, and records that could shed light on the success or failure of the state’s response to COVID-19 belong to Colorado residents. But good luck claiming your property. There’s a good chance it’s already destroyed.

The Denver Post reported this week that the state health department as a matter of routine policy has deleted emails to and from officials, including state epidemiologist Rachel Herlihy, who work on pandemic response. This comes after almost two dozen news organizations in April made a special request that such communication be preserved, since the communication “will become particularly important in the future … to determine what we can learn from the response,” and, more significantly, after the state archivist in June asked state offices to preserve records, including emails, related to COVID-19.

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