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.

Midterm voting mostly problem-free in battleground states, voting advocates report

By: - November 8, 2022

As of midday Tuesday, voting across the country has largely gone smoothly without any major issues or incidents of voter intimidation, voting rights advocates said. In counties that did experience problems, which were typical of any Election Day, the incidents were largely attributed to faulty technology and human error. In Maricopa County, Arizona, one of […]

Concerns grow that voter intimidation could disrupt midterm elections

By: - November 3, 2022

PHOENIX — The two outdoor ballot drop boxes in Maricopa County are both unassuming — secure metal boxes, about the size of blue mailboxes, located just outside county buildings. But in recent weeks, they’ve at times been monitored by volunteers with far-right organizations, prompted by former President Donald Trump’s claims of widespread fraud and misinformation […]

Prolonged challenges by losing candidates could overshadow November election results

By: - October 19, 2022

Joey Gilbert, a Reno-based attorney, lost the GOP primary for Nevada governor by roughly 26,000 votes in June, a margin of around 11 points. But he wasn’t ready to admit defeat. Empowered by former President Donald Trump’s false claims of voter fraud after the 2020 election, Gilbert refused to concede. He offered a $25,000 reward […]

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 pled 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 of State Jena Griswold […]

Election officials at U.S. Senate hearing describe threats, spread of misinformation

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 […]

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

By: - July 25, 2022

MADISON, Wis. — Election 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 last week was held with stringent security precautions, […]

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

By: - July 19, 2022

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 duties in or near a polling place. The […]

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 […]

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

By: - June 30, 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 officeholders and at least five previous state and federal officeholders. Groups from Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, New Mexico, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin all allegedly met in December 2020 and sent lists of so-called alternate electors […]

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 […]

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 than in any […]

How an election denier’s fan club got its start in the states

By: - December 16, 2021

WASHINGTON — The suddenly famous election denier behind the circulation of a PowerPoint filled with plans to overturn the 2020 election has a long history of election subversion attempts in multiple states. Retired Army Col. Phil Waldron also has close ties to former President Donald Trump’s legal team and served as one of its key […]