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.

Arizona election audit

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 […]

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, […]

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

By: - September 12, 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 […]

Kari Lake is one of 4 ‘Big Lie’ swing state GOP guv candidates. They could upend the 2024 presidential election.

By: - August 25, 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 […]

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

By: - August 19, 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 […]

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 […]

Mark Finchem

Mark Finchem is the latest in a wave of election deniers moving toward controlling elections

By: - August 2, 2022

Mark Finchem, an Arizona state representative who has said he would not have certified the 2020 election, has won the Republican primary for secretary of state, making him the latest election denier to move closer to controlling his state’s election system. Venture capitalist Blake Masters, who has questioned whether the upcoming November midterm election will […]

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

By: - July 15, 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 14, 2022

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 social action with the Delta […]

U.S. sues Arizona over proof of citizenship voting law

By: - July 5, 2022

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division announced Tuesday that it has sued Arizona over a law signed by the state’s Republican governor in March that requires people registering to vote prove their citizenship to participate in a presidential election or to vote by mail in any federal election. Republican proponents of […]

Donald Trump

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

By: - June 29, 2022

The 84 people who signed bogus documents claiming that Donald Trump won the 2020 election include dozens of GOP candidates, activists and officials.

A dozen Arizona GOP lawmakers follow at least 1 far-right Facebook group

By: - May 18, 2022

More than 1 in 5 Republican state lawmakers across the country have joined at least one far-right Facebook group, according to a new report. In Arizona, 12 have done so — about 25% of the state’s GOP legislators. Together the lawmakers sponsored 963 bills during the most recent legislative sessions, said the group that wrote […]