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 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 […]

Flag at half staff (phot by Circe Denyer, public domain CC0)

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

By: - September 19, 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 […]

Voters march to the polls after the early voting event at the Midtown Center. (Photo | Isiah Holmes)

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, […]

Tim Michels and Donald Trump

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 […]

Poll workers on election day (Photo: City of Madison Clerk's Office)

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

By: - August 21, 2022

Correction: An earlier version of this report misstated how much in funding an advisory board awarded to the Colorado Secretary of State’s office. The award totaled $241,000 in emergency funding.  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 […]

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 […]

Low angle view of people lined up to vote

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

By: - July 22, 2022

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 in Madison was held with stringent security precautions, given […]

"No vote for you" sign

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 […]

Hands grabbing steel green bars

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

By: - July 15, 2022

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 social action with the Delta […]

Right-wing protesters gather outside the Maricopa County Elections Department on Nov. 4, 2020, demanding that all ballots for Donald Trump be counted. Inside the building, election workers were busy counting hundreds of thousands of ballots. Photo by Jerod MacDonald-Evoy | Arizona Mirror

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 […]

Rioters enter the U.S. Capitol Building on Jan. 6, 2021 in Washington, D.C. Congress held a joint session today to ratify President-elect Joe Biden's 306-232 Electoral College win over President Donald Trump. A group of Republican senators said they would reject the Electoral College votes of several states unless Congress appointed a commission to audit the election results. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

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

By: - July 5, 2022

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

District of Columbia residents Gregory Barnhart (left) and Kortez Trasvant are serving time for felonies in the D.C. jail, but both have become politically active and plan on casting ballots this year. Washington, D.C., Maine, and Vermont all allow people to vote while incarcerated for felonies | Screenshot by Kira Lerner

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 […]