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.

Election officials make their voices heard as battleground states debate voting laws

By: - May 14, 2022

When Georgia legislators pushed through a restrictive voting bill during the 2021 session, Bartow County election supervisor Joseph Kirk said he felt frustrated and sidelined. Lawmakers largely didn’t take election officials’ views into account, he said, and what resulted was a law that included a number of provisions that he said election officials believe are “to the […]

Arizona could force U.S. Supreme Court to consider proof of citizenship for voter registration

By: - March 31, 2022

A GOP-sponsored bill signed into law Wednesday in Arizona requires documentary proof of citizenship to register to vote, a mandate that the U.S. Supreme Court has said is unconstitutional. By signing the bill, Republican Gov. Doug Ducey is setting up Arizona for an inevitable legal challenge that will likely allow the U.S. Supreme Court to […]

Decline in federal grant funding for local elections criticized by advocates

By: - March 19, 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 […]

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

By: - February 19, 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 […]

Voters line up in cars on Oct. 20, 2020, to deliver mail ballots at a Shawnee County drop box in Topeka. (Noah Taborda/Kansas Reflector)

States target ballot drop boxes in fight over voting rights

By: - February 12, 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 […]

States weigh how to shield election officials from threats, harassment

By: - January 29, 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 […]

Conservative groups target state, local voter registration rolls with multiple lawsuits

By: - January 10, 2022

North Carolina’s voter rolls are like a refrigerator that needs to be cleared periodically of rotting milk and other items past their expiration date, according to Jason Snead, director of the pro-Trump Honest Elections Project. Snead is an elections advocate supporting Republican plaintiffs in a lawsuit seeking to force the state to more regularly maintain […]

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

By: - December 19, 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 […]

Activists target corporate campaign cash in battle against voting restrictions

By: - December 14, 2021

Members of the Defend Black Voters Coalition chose Detroit’s TCF Center as their backdrop earlier this month when they issued a warning about the dangers of “voter suppression legislation” backed by Republican state lawmakers. The building behind them was a powerful symbol of what could happen if elections indeed are undermined. It’s where conservative poll […]