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.

Election deniers lose attempts to control elections in critical battleground states

By: - 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: - November 8, 2022

As of midday Tuesday, voting across the country had 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 […]

Concerns grow that voter intimidation could disrupt midterm elections

By: - November 3, 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 about drop […]

‘Burning the candle at both ends’: Inside one of the nation’s busiest elections offices

By: - November 2, 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 verifying voters’ […]

Prolonged challenges by losing candidates could overshadow November election results

By: - 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 […]

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

By: - September 29, 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% 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 […]

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 […]

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

By: - August 30, 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 22, 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 […]

Low angle view of people lined up to vote

Election officials at U.S. Senate hearing describe threats, spread of misinformation

By: - August 5, 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 […]