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.
The District of Columbia allows incarcerated people to vote, a rarity in the U.S.
By: Kira Lerner - 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: April Corbin Girnus and Kira Lerner - 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: Kira Lerner - 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: Kira Lerner - 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: Kira Lerner - 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: Kira Lerner - 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: Kira Lerner - 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 […]