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.

One of the protests linked to Patriot Front, and the National Justice Party, held in the wake of the Waukesha Christmas Parade tragedy. (Photo | Patriot Front leaks, Unicorn Riot)

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

By: - May 19, 2022

More than 1 in 5 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. The Institute for Research […]

Ballot drop box for election

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 […]

Hands grasping bars in jail or prison

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 […]

Alex Boutrous of Chicago Votes at a rally in Springfield, Illinois, on March 9 to push for passage of legislation that would allow people convicted of felonies to vote while incarcerated. Photo courtesy Chicago Votes.

Illinois legislation would allow people to vote while serving felony sentences

By: - March 14, 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 […]

Carla Brailey, a Democratic candidate for Texas lieutenant governor, in Houston

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 […]

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

By: - February 2, 2022

The 84 people who signed bogus documents claiming that Donald Trump won the 2020 election include dozens of local Republican Party leaders, seven current candidates for public office, eight 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 […]

States weigh how to shield election officials from threats, harassment

By: - January 26, 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 […]

American flag trying to vote and having to pass through a maze to do it

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 […]

Voting Cancelled sign via Flickr

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

By: - January 11, 2022

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 to more regularly maintain […]

Denzel McCampbell meeting with constituents during his campaign for city clerk in Detroit. (Photo courtesy of Denzel McCampbell via Flickr)

Candidates fighting 2020 misinformation run to administer local elections

By: - December 29, 2021

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 […]

Protester holding sign reading Voter Suppression is Violence

Activists target corporate campaign cash in battle against voting restrictions

By: - December 14, 2021

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 elections indeed […]