Kira Lerner

Kira Lerner

Kira Lerner is the democracy reporter for States Newsroom, the Louisiana Illuminator's parent nonprofit in Washington, D.C. She has previously covered voting, criminal justice, and civil rights issues for publications including Votebeat and The Appeal.

prison corridor

The District of Columbia allows incarcerated people to vote, a rarity in the U.S.

By: - June 20, 2022

This article is published through a collaboration between States Newsroom and Bolts. WASHINGTON — Earlier this month, about 10 men detained in the Young Men Emerging unit in the Washington, D.C., jail sat around a TV to watch the Democratic candidates for mayor debate issues including affordable housing and gun violence.  “It was on a […]

Empty ballot envelopes in Provo, Utah

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

By: - May 11, 2022

Across the country, election officials this legislative season made their voices heard in hearings and through appeals to lawmakers, urging them not to enact voting laws that they saw as unfeasible or unnecessary, or that would ultimately make their jobs more difficult. 

Amendment 4 march in Jacksonville, Florida

People with felony convictions received the right to vote. Now some face charges.

By: - April 28, 2022

Florida voters approved a law in 2018 to allow felons who have completed their sentence to vote. Republican lawmakers then approved a requirement that felons pay all fines and penalties connected to their sentence before they can vote. The matter has mired in court cases ever since.

Welcome to Arizona roadside sign

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

By: - March 30, 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.

Governor vetoes election grants bill — again

Decline in federal grant funding for local elections criticized by advocates

By: - March 17, 2022

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.

prison cell

In Houston, people in jail can still go to the polls

By: - March 8, 2022

In recent years, jails in Chicago, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C., have also introduced polling places for those incarcerated on Election Day, offering the right to vote to thousands of people who are typically disenfranchised because of their circumstances. 

Voters stand outside the West Gray Multi-Service Center in Houston.

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

By: - March 2, 2022

Across Texas on Tuesday, voters suffered from longer than expected lines due to poll worker shortages and technical difficulties with voting machines, advocates who monitored Election Day polling reported.

Texans go to the polls under sweeping new voting restrictions

By: - March 1, 2022

HOUSTON — With less than two days until Texas’ primary election, Cedric and Myrtis Tatterson sat in a community center gym in Houston to fulfill the training required of them as election judges. Though they have both served as judges in numerous past elections, Tuesday’s primary will be the first since Texas’ Republican-controlled legislature passed […]

Empty ballot envelopes in Provo, Utah

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

By: - February 16, 2022

Republican officials are trying to discredit state court judges who rule against them or issue rulings they disagree with in election-related cases.

voter drop box in Thurston, Washington

States target ballot drop boxes in fight over voting rights

By: - February 8, 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.

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

By: - January 31, 2022

The 84 people who signed bogus documents claiming that Donald Trump won the 2020 election include dozens of local Republican Party leaders, seven current candidates for public office, eight current office holders and at least five previous state and federal office holders.

man at a voting booth

States weigh how to shield election officials from threats, harassment

By: - January 25, 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 […]