Author

Kira Lerner

Kira Lerner

Kira Lerner is the democracy reporter for the nonprofit 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.

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

By: - September 26, 2022

Nye County, a rural enclave in Nevada, 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 narratives that machines that count votes are rigged. County Clerk Mark Kampf, […]

typewriter with democracy text

On Democracy Day, newsrooms draw attention to a crisis in the U.S. system of government

By: - September 15, 2022

A recent poll found that 69 percent of both Democrats and Republicans think democracy in the United States is in danger of collapse. Almost two years after Donald Trump falsely claimed that voter fraud cost him the election and inspired a web of supporters and “big lie” candidates to also believe the election was rigged, […]

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

By: - September 10, 2022

Adrian Fontes is tired of responding to the outrageous claims of Mark Finchem, a Trump-backed Republican election denier with ties to QAnon. Fontes faces Finchem on the ballot this year for Arizona secretary of state. Finchem has said that if elected the state’s chief election official, he would ban early voting, move away from electronic […]

How election-denying GOP governors could tilt the 2024 presidential election

By: - August 26, 2022

Republican candidates who claim that the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump have been nominated for governor in four critical swing states, raising concerns that if elected they could try to sway election results in 2024 and beyond. In Arizona, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin, Republican primary voters elected a candidate who has denied the […]

Election officials can’t access federal funding for security as violent threats mount

By: - August 22, 2022

Colorado’s election officials, like so many across the country, faced a surge of violent threats after the 2020 election. Federal authorities are prosecuting a man who pleaded guilty to threatening a Colorado election official on Instagram, where he wrote: “Do you feel safe? You shouldn’t.” And Colorado police arrested a man accused of calling Secretary […]

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

By: - August 5, 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 […]

Voting booths in Leon County

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

By: - July 22, 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, […]

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

By: - July 19, 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 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 […]

U.S. sues Arizona over proof of citizenship voting law

By: - July 5, 2022

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division announced Tuesday that it has sued Arizona over a law signed by the state’s Republican governor in March that requires people registering to vote prove their citizenship to participate in a presidential election or to vote by mail in any federal election. Republican proponents of […]

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 […]