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.
Future of U.S. election law at stake as Supreme Court hears North Carolina case
By: Lynn Bonner and Kira Lerner - December 7, 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 heard oral arguments in an appeal of a North Carolina Supreme Court ruling that threw out congressional districts drawn by the Republican-led legislature.
Election deniers lose attempts to control elections in critical battleground states
By: Kira Lerner - November 10, 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: Kira Lerner - 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: Kira Lerner - 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 […]
Concerns grow that voter intimidation could disrupt midterm elections
By: Kira Lerner - November 3, 2022
NC is on the list of states where worries are high 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 […]
‘Burning the candle at both ends’: Inside one of the nation’s busiest elections offices
By: Kira Lerner - October 31, 2022
PHOENIX — During the first few days that Arizona’s Maricopa County began tabulating early votes, County Recorder Stephen Richer ran between interviews and meetings, responded on Twitter to dozens of voters with questions about the election and held a press conference for reporters. He managed this all while overseeing a staff and volunteers who were […]
Prolonged challenges by losing candidates could overshadow November election results
By: Kira Lerner - October 20, 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 to anyone who could provide evidence of fraud, lodged a legal challenge and filed for a recount.
A conspiracy-fueled push to count ballots by hand gains traction
By: Kira Lerner - 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 Mark Kampf, who has falsely claimed that Trump won the 2020 election, has said that volunteer voters there will hand count the roughly 30,000 ballots expected in the November election.
On Democracy Day, newsrooms draw attention to a crisis in the U.S. system of government
By: Kira Lerner - 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: Kira Lerner - 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 […]
How election-denying GOP governors could tilt the 2024 presidential election
By: Kira Lerner - August 26, 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 results of the 2020 election and believes that voter fraud influenced the results.
Election officials can’t access federal funding for security as violent threats mount
By: Kira Lerner - August 23, 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 of State Jena Griswold and saying that “the angel of death is coming for her.”