Author

Kira Lerner

Kira Lerner

Kira Lerner is the democracy reporter for States Newsroom where she covers voting, elections, redistricting, and efforts to subvert democracy. Before joining States Newsroom, Kira was managing editor of Votebeat, a pop-up newsroom launched to cover election administration and voting before and after the 2020 election. She has also covered voting rights, criminal justice, and civil rights issues for outlets including The Appeal and ThinkProgress. Her work has appeared in the Washington Post, the Guardian, Slate, and Talking Points Memo, among other outlets. Kira has a bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism and is a native of the Washington, D.C. area.

How election deniers are campaigning to control voting in four critical states

By: - August 4, 2022

Mark Finchem, an Arizona state representative who has said he would not have certified the 2020 election, won the Republican primary for secretary of state on Tuesday, making him the latest election denier to move closer to controlling his state’s election system. Across the country, Republicans who say the 2020 election was rigged are vying […]

Election officials at U.S. Senate hearing describe threats, spread of misinformation

By: - August 4, 2022

WASHINGTON — Democrats on the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday explored how to combat violent threats lodged against election officials, while Republicans questioned why the Department of Justice isn’t doing more to investigate threats against crisis pregnancy centers and Supreme Court justices. During a hearing on protecting election officials, Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Polite […]

Election officials risk criminal charges under 31 new GOP-imposed penalties

By: - July 25, 2022

Second in a two-part series. See part one here. Since the 2020 election, Iowa has enacted one new felony and two new misdemeanor offenses targeting election officials.  The state’s omnibus election law, passed in 2021, criminalizes election officials who fail to perform their duties, don’t adequately maintain voter lists, or interfere with other people performing […]

State elections officials struggle with paper shortages, harassment, insider threats

By: - July 24, 2022

MADISON, Wis. — Elections officials from 33 states, gathered for a conference under tight security, warned that the next few election cycles will be affected by paper shortages and the potential for threats from inside elections offices. The meeting of the National Association of State Elections Directors this week was held with stringent security precautions, […]

Criminalizing the vote: GOP-led states enacted 102 new election penalties after 2020

By: - July 18, 2022

First in a two-part series During the 2020 election, Rhonda Briggins and her sorority sisters spent days providing voters in metro Atlanta with water and snacks as they waited in long lines at polling places. The lines for early voting and on Election Day at times stretched on for hours. As the national co-chair for […]

UPDATED: Trump’s fake electors: Here’s the full list

By: - June 29, 2022

The 84 people who signed bogus documents claiming that Donald Trump won the 2020 election include dozens of local Republican Party leaders, four current candidates for public office, six current office holders and at least five previous state and federal office holders. Groups from Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, New Mexico, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin all allegedly met in December 2020 and sent lists of so-called […]

The District of Columbia allows incarcerated people to vote, a rarity in the U.S.

By: - June 21, 2022

This article is published through a collaboration between States Newsroom and Bolts. WASHINGTON — Earlier this month, about 10 men detained in the Young Men Emerging unit in the Washington, D.C., jail sat around a TV to watch the Democratic candidates for mayor debate issues including affordable housing and gun violence.  “It was on a […]

Report says hundreds of state legislators have joined far-right Facebook groups

By: - May 18, 2022

Updated, 7:49 a.m., 5/19/22 More than one in five Republican state lawmakers across the country have joined at least one far-right Facebook group, according to a new report. Together the lawmakers sponsored 963 bills during the most recent legislative sessions, said the group that wrote the report, which describes the far-right efforts as anti-human rights. […]

Election officials make their voices heard as battleground states debate voting laws

By: - May 12, 2022

When Georgia legislators pushed through a restrictive voting bill during the 2021 session, Bartow County election supervisor Joseph Kirk said he felt frustrated and sidelined. Lawmakers largely didn’t take election officials’ views into account, he said, and what resulted was a law that included a number of provisions that he said election officials believe are “to the […]

Florida gave voting rights to people with felony convictions. Now some face charges for voting.

By: - May 2, 2022

Florida authorities arrested a Black man while he was staying in a homeless shelter and charged him with voting illegally in a case tied to Republicans’ drive to root out election fraud. But Kelvin Bolton’s arrest raises questions about the rollout of Amendment 4, passed by Florida voters in 2018 to restore voting rights to […]

Decline in federal grant funding for local elections criticized by advocates

By: - March 29, 2022

WASHINGTON — The $1.5 trillion omnibus spending bill passed by Congress this month includes $75 million in Help America Vote Act grants — a major reduction compared to years past. Experts say the $75 million is insufficient to fund local elections and leaves local election offices without resources to improve election infrastructure and protect the […]

Illinois legislation would allow people to vote while serving felony sentences

By: - March 17, 2022

When Avalon Betts-Gaston was incarcerated for roughly four years, she left behind two sons — one in high school and one in elementary school. Betts-Gaston had always been involved in their education, and she said she was angry that she couldn’t vote and choose her local school board representatives. “I came from a very politically […]