Author

Kira Lerner

Kira Lerner

Kira is the democracy reporter for States Newsroom, where she covers voting, elections, redistricting, and efforts to subvert democracy. Before joining States Newsroom, Kira was managing editor of Votebeat, a pop-up newsroom launched to cover election administration and voting before and after the 2020 election. She has also covered voting rights, criminal justice, and civil rights issues for outlets including The Appeal and ThinkProgress. Her work has appeared in the Washington Post, the Guardian, Slate, and Talking Points Memo, among other outlets. Kira has a bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism and is a native of the Washington, D.C., area.

Mark Finchem

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 […]

A Maricopa County , Arizona, drop box

Concerns grow that voter intimidation could disrupt midterm elections

By: - November 5, 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 […]

El Paso County Clerk and Recorder Chuck Broerman sits behind a desk in his office

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

By: - November 4, 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 […]

a #StopTheSteal sign appears in window

Prolonged challenges by losing candidates could overshadow November election results

By: - October 22, 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 […]

Allegheny County Election Officials Counting Ballots

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 […]

A voter fills out an advanced ballot on July 29, 2022, at the Shawnee County Elections Office. (Sherman Smith/Kansas Reflector)

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, a majority […]

David Reinert holds up a large "Q" sign while waiting in line to see President Donald J. Trump at his rally on Aug. 2, 2018, at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania. "Q" represents QAnon, a conspiracy theory group. (Rick Loomis/Getty Images)

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

By: - September 11, 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 […]

Pro-Trump protesters gather in front of the U.S. Capitol Building on Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington, D.C. Trump supporters gathered in the nation’s capital to protest the ratification of President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory over President Trump in the 2020 election. A pro-Trump mob later stormed the Capitol, breaking windows and clashing with police officers. (Brent Stirton/Getty Images)

How election-denying GOP governors could tilt the 2024 presidential election

By: - August 27, 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 […]

Voters cast advance ballots

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

By: - August 20, 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 […]

Voters cast advance ballots

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 […]

Votes are counted by staff at the Maricopa County Elections Department office on Nov. 5, 2020, in Phoenix, Arizona. The National Association of State Elections Directors met this week to discuss ongoing challenges, such as a paper shortage and “insider” threats. (Courtney Pedroza/Getty Images)

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

By: - July 23, 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, […]

Poll workers assist voters at the Westside Community Center in West Des Moines' Valley Junction neighborhood shortly after 8 a.m. on Nov. 3, 2020. (Perry Beeman/Iowa Capital Dispatch)

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

By: - July 17, 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 […]