Author

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.

Protestors outside the U.S. Supreme Court

Future of U.S. election law at stake as Supreme Court hears North Carolina case

By: and - 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 […]

Former President Donald Trump listens as Wisconsin Republican gubernatorial candidate Tim Michels speaks to guests during a rally on Aug. 5, 2022

Election deniers lose attempts to control elections in critical battleground states

By: - November 9, 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 […]

Chuck Broerman, the Republican clerk in El Paso County, Colorado

Conspiracy theorists urge voting as late as possible on Election Day to ‘stop the steal’

By: - November 4, 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 […]

Armed vigilantes wearing tactical gear were captured by security cameras on Oct. 21, 2022, outside Maricopa County’s drop box in Mesa, Arizona.

Concerns grow that voter intimidation could disrupt midterm elections

By: - November 2, 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 […]

Right-wing protestors in Maricopa County, Arizona

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

By: - October 28, 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 […]

Kim Crockett, the Republican nominee for Minnesota secretary of state

Prolonged challenges by losing candidates could overshadow November election results

By: - October 19, 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 […]

Empty ballot envelopes in Provo, Utah

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 […]

Right-wing protestors in Maricopa County, Arizona

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 […]

Donald Trump

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

By: - August 28, 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 […]

Voters lined up at a polling precinct

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

By: - August 20, 2022

With less than three months until the midterm election, many election officials across the United States say a continuing onslaught of violent threats makes them worried about their safety and that of their colleagues.

US Capitol

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

By: - August 4, 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 […]

Governor vetoes election grants bill — again

State elections officials struggle with paper shortages, harassment, insider threats

By: - July 22, 2022

MADISON, Wisconsin — Elections officials from 33 states, gathered for a conference under tight security, warned that the next few election cycles will be affected by paper shortages and the potential for threats from inside elections offices. The meeting of the National Association of State Elections Directors this week was held with stringent security precautions, […]