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.

Future of U.S. election law at stake as Supreme Court hears North Carolina case

By: and - December 8, 2022

WASHINGTON – North Carolina Republicans appeared to have at least three of the U.S. Supreme Court’s conservative justices on their side Wednesday in a case that could determine the future of elections nationwide, and leave decisions about federal elections in the hands of state legislatures and beyond the reach of state courts.  The Supreme Court […]

Election deniers lose attempts to control elections in critical battleground states

By: - November 9, 2022

Several prominent Republican candidates who denied the results of the 2020 election lost their races on Tuesday, but other critical races featuring election deniers have not been called.  Going into Election Day, election deniers were on the ballot in around half of the races for governor and secretary of state and one-third of the races […]

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 […]

Conspiracy theorists urge voting as late as possible on Election Day to ‘stop the steal’

By: - November 7, 2022

A close ally of Republican Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano has a plan that she claims will help win him the election and prevent voter fraud: She wants voters to cast their ballots “as late in the day as possible” on Election Day.  Conspiracy theorist Toni Shuppe, who has ties to QAnon and who is […]

Prolonged challenges by losing candidates could overshadow November election results

By: - October 21, 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 […]

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

By: - September 27, 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 […]

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

By: - August 19, 2022

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 who […]

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 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 […]