Author

Kira Lerner

Kira Lerner

Kira Lerner is the democracy reporter for States Newsroom in Washington, D.C. She has previously covered voting, criminal justice, and civil rights issues for publications including Votebeat and The Appeal.

A conspiracy-fueled push to count ballots by hand gains traction

By: - September 27, 2022

Nye County has positioned itself as the epicenter of a Donald Trump-fueled conspiracy about the security of electronic vote tabulators.  The Nye County Commission voted in March to make the county one of the first to act on the false narrative that machines that count votes are rigged, and recommended long-time elections clerk Sandra Merlina […]

Democrats feel pressure to ‘save the republic’ in campaigns to run state election systems

By: - September 12, 2022

Cisco Aguilar’s first foray into electoral politics has not been an easy one. Aguilar, he Democrat running for Nevada secretary of state against Republican Jim Marchant, a 2020 election denier who has parroted former President Donald Trump’s voter fraud conspiracies, says he lays awake at night worrying about the future of Nevada’s elections, given how […]

At hearing on threats to election officials, GOP senators strive to change the subject

By: - August 3, 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 26, 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 their […]

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

By: - July 25, 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 […]

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 communal TV, and […]

7 Republican lawmakers in Nevada have joined far-right Facebook groups, says report

By: and - May 20, 2022

Seven Nevada Republican lawmakers are members of at least one far-right Facebook group, according to a new national report. Five of the seven are running for new elected positions this year. The Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights, a think tank that defends democracy and human rights, identified 875 lawmakers nationwide who have […]

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 18, 2022

WASHINGTON — The $1.5 trillion omnibus spending bill passed by Congress last week 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 […]

Texans go to the polls under sweeping new voting restrictions

By: - March 1, 2022

HOUSTON — With less than two days until Texas’ primary election, Cedric and Myrtis Tatterson sat in a community center gym in Houston to fulfill the training required of them as election judges. Though they have both served as judges in numerous past elections, Tuesday’s primary will be the first since Texas’ Republican-controlled legislature passed […]

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

By: - February 20, 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 9, 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 […]