Archives by: Kira Lerner

Kira Lerner

About the author

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 Lerner's articles and posts

Defending Democracy News Top Story

Prolonged challenges by losing candidates could overshadow November election results

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. 

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ballot counting
Congress Defending Democracy News Top Story

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

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.

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Congress Defending Democracy News Top Story

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

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.

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Congress Defending Democracy News Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

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

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.”

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Defending Democracy Law and the Courts News Top Story

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

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 first offense carries a potential five years in prison.

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Defending Democracy Law and the Courts News Top Story

Criminalizing the vote: GOP-led states enacted 102 new election penalties after 2020

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 Sigma Theta sorority for Black women, Briggins felt compelled to help, and she and her sisters unofficially adopted one DeKalb County location where many elderly Georgians cast their ballots.

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Defending Democracy Law and the Courts News Top Story

Florida gave voting rights to people with felony convictions. Now some face charges for voting.

Florida authorities arrested a Black man while he was staying in a homeless shelter and charged him with voting illegally in a case tied to Republicans’ drive to root out election fraud. But Kelvin Bolton’s arrest raises questions about the rollout of Amendment 4, passed by Florida voters in 2018 to restore voting rights to Floridians with felony convictions.

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Defending Democracy Law and the Courts News Top Story

In many parts of the U.S., people in jail can still go to the polls

HOUSTON — Damien Lewis had been detained in the Harris County Jail for a week. Other than the one hour a day he was allowed to walk around indoors and trips to court, he had been under quarantine and hadn’t left his cell. But on the day of the Texas primary earlier this month, a jail staff member escorted him down to a hallway on the jail’s first floor, which was lined with eight voting machines.

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Defending Democracy News Top Story

Voting snafus in Texas primary show what may be on the way for other states

HOUSTON — Standing outside a polling location in the historically Black neighborhood of Kashmere Gardens on Election Day, lieutenant governor candidate Carla Brailey predicted that Texas’ performance in 2022’s first primary would gain national attention — no matter the outcome. Texas is already a model for other Republican-controlled states for its new law that makes it much tougher to vote for many elderly, low-income and non-white citizens, said Brailey, who went on to lose in Tuesday’s Democratic primary.

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Defending Democracy Law and the Courts News Top Story

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

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 rampant but is actually exceedingly rare.

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