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.

In Houston, people in jail can still go to the polls

By: - March 15, 2022

HOUSTON — Damien Lewis had been detained in the Harris County Jail for a week. Other than the one hour a day he was allowed to walk around indoors and trips to court, he had been under quarantine and hadn’t left his cell. But on the day of the Texas primary earlier this month, a […]

Voting snafus in Texas primary show what may be on the way for other states

By: - March 2, 2022

HOUSTON — Standing outside a polling location in the historically Black neighborhood of Kashmere Gardens on Election Day, lieutenant governor candidate Carla Brailey predicted that Texas’ performance in 2022’s first primary would gain national attention — no matter the outcome. Texas is already a model for other Republican-controlled states for its new law that makes […]

State judges across the U.S. face growing GOP pushback against rulings in election cases

By: - February 22, 2022

In mid-December, Texas’ highest criminal court revoked the state attorney general’s ability to use his office to prosecute election-related cases without the request of a district or county attorney. In an 8-1 opinion, the all-Republican court weakened Attorney General Ken Paxton’s power to independently go after perpetrators of voter fraud, a problem he says is rampant but […]

States target ballot drop boxes in fight over voting rights

By: - February 15, 2022

Ballot drop boxes are so secure they’ve survived getting hit by an SUV and rolled by a school bus — yet much of the battle over voting rights has centered on the big metal boxes. In the November 2020 general election, nearly 40 states had ballot drop boxes available and more voters used drop boxes than in any […]

States weigh how to shield election officials from threats, harassment

By: - January 25, 2022

Following the turmoil of the 2020 election, a photo of Washington state Election Director Lori Augino marked with crosshairs, her address, and the words “your days are numbered” was posted on a website alongside photos of numerous other state election officials described as “enemies of the people.”   Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman said in […]

Seven states to watch in the 2022 push to restrict voting rights

By: - January 18, 2022

WASHINGTON — Republican state lawmakers across the country are ramping up their drive to enact voting and election-related laws in time for crucial 2022 midterm elections. As federal legislation that would limit state-level voting restrictions appears stymied in Washington, Republicans in the states are moving forward with new proposals and revisiting old ones that Democrats and […]

Conservative groups target state, local voter registration rolls with multiple lawsuits

By: - January 11, 2022

Updated and corrected, 12:04 p.m., 1/11/22 North Carolina’s voter rolls are like a refrigerator that needs to be cleared periodically of rotting milk and other items past their expiration date, according to Jason Snead, director of the pro-Trump Honest Elections Project. Snead is an elections advocate supporting Republican plaintiffs in a lawsuit seeking to force the state […]

Candidates fighting 2020 misinformation run to administer local elections

By: - January 2, 2022

As a chemist and immigrant from Vietnam, Linh Nguyen never thought she could have a role in U.S. politics. But then Donald Trump was elected president in 2016 and he “unknowingly inspired minority leaders, women of color like me, to be more actively engaged in politics,” she said. She joined the nonpartisan League of Women […]

How an election denier’s fan club got its start in the states

By: - December 16, 2021

WASHINGTON — The suddenly famous election denier behind the circulation of a PowerPoint filled with plans to overturn the 2020 election has a long history of election subversion attempts in multiple states, including Michigan. Retired Army Col. Phil Waldron also has close ties to former President Donald Trump’s legal team and served as one of […]

Activists target corporate campaign cash in battle against voting restrictions

By: - December 14, 2021

Updated, 5:59 p.m., 12/14/21 Members of the Defend Black Voters Coalition chose Detroit’s Huntington Center as their backdrop earlier this month when they issued a warning about the dangers of “voter suppression legislation” backed by Republican state lawmakers. The building behind them, formerly known as the TCF Center, was a powerful symbol of what could happen if […]