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.

Election workers pick up ballots from an outdoor drop box

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 […]

Justice Scales and books and wooden gavel

State judges across the U.S. face growing GOP pushback against rulings in election cases

By: - February 16, 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 […]

Election workers gather ballots from a roadside drop box

States weigh how to shield election officials from threats, harassment

By: - January 28, 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 […]

An American flag and a sign that says "vote."

Seven states to watch in the 2022 push to restrict voting rights

By: - January 17, 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 […]

A "Stop the Steal" sign

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

By: - December 15, 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 […]