Ashley Lopez

Ashley Lopez

Ashley Lopez is a reporter for WLRN-Miami Herald News. She also splits her time as a reporter/blogger for the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting and as a local print reporter for The Miami Herald. Previously, Lopez was a reporter/blogger for The Florida Independent — a nonprofit news blog that covered Florida politics and public policy. A native Miamian, Lopez graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a journalism degree. She also interned for Talking Points Memo and an NPR affiliate in Durham, North Carolina.

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Election 2012
2:36 pm
Thu November 15, 2012

Court Will Hear Allen West's Recount Fight Tomorrow

A court will hear Allen West's demand for a recount on Friday.
Credit Gage Skidmore/ Flickr

A court in St. Lucie County is allowing Rep. Allen West  two hours on Friday to make his case for recounting the election that may have cost him his seat in Congress. 

Right now, unofficial results show that Democrat Patrick Murphy has a 0.58 percent lead over West.

But according to The Palm Beach Post, West isn't giving up. He claims there were errors with the early vote ballot c0unt, among the other things.

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Voting
10:30 am
Thu November 15, 2012

Election Expert Says Florida's Early Voting Law Kept Minorities From Voting

Credit Daniel Smith, University of Florida

Daniel Smith, a professor at the University of Florida and expert on election data, says that Florida's new voting law, which cut early voting days from 14 to 8 days, limited voter participation among minorities.

Smith had long warned legislators that last year's voting law would disproportionately affect minority voters, who use early voting significantly more than other groups.

He says that his warnings months ago were right.

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Gay Rights
1:00 pm
Wed November 14, 2012

Florida Elects Two Openly Gay State Lawmakers For The First Time

Two openly gay men won seats in the Florida House this election.
Credit ep_jhu / Flickr

On Election Day this year, Florida went from having zero openly gay lawmakers in the state Legislature to two.

David Richardson won a seat in the Florida House representing Miami Beach and Joe Saunders won a seat representing a part of Orlando. Both men are openly gay.

Up until last week, Florida was the biggest state in the U.S. to have never elected an openly gay person to office in their state legislature. 

Chuck Wolfe, president of the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, says that Florida was actually part of a national trend.

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Health Care Law
12:32 pm
Wed November 14, 2012

Rick Scott Says He's Going To Work With Feds On Health Care

Gov. Scott says he will implement the Affordable Care Act in Florida.
Credit Gage Skidmore /Flickr

Gov. Rick Scott-- the man who spent his own money traveling the country in an effort to stop health care reform-- has announced he is actually going to work with the federal government to implement the health care reform law in Florida.

Since the 2010 health care law was passed, Florida officials and Scott have dragged their feet in implementing the health care law here. They have even turned away millions of dollars allocated through the law that would go to programs that help low-income women and children.

However, things have since changed.

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Ballot Measures
12:00 pm
Wed November 14, 2012

No One Knows Why Florida's Ballot Measures Failed

There are a lot of theories about why this year's ballot measures didn't pass-- but they are just theories.
Credit Christine DiMattei /WLRN

In this past election, only three of the 11 proposed changes to the Florida Constitution on this year's ballot actually passed.

The ballot measures covered issues like tax cuts, the Florida Supreme Court, abortion and public funding of religious groups.

There are a lot of theories as to why this happened: a historically long ballot might have fatigued people by the time they got to the ballot measures, the amendments themselves were lengthy and confusing, lines were too long and polling places were chaotic, etc.

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Cuban-American Vote
10:00 am
Wed November 14, 2012

Experts Don't Agree On Cuban American Vote

The Cuban vote in this election has become a topic of debate among researchers.
Credit Phillip Pessar /Flickr

Following this year's close presidential election here in Florida, there were reports that Obama had won the Cuban vote, or at least he had gotten a record share of it.

However, some political researchers and professors here in South Florida don't agree that this election represented a historic shift for South Florida's Cuban-Americans -- a population that has historically voted in favor of the GOP. 

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Health Care Reform Law
10:30 am
Tue November 13, 2012

Florida Officials May Be Getting Serious About Health Care Reform Law

Gov. Rick Scott has to start implementing health care reform in Florida.
Credit Gage Skidmore /Flickr

Last week, Floridians voted down Amendment 1 -- an amendment that basically added anti-health care reform language into our state Constitution. Specifically, the amendment would have made it illegal to implement the individual mandate portion of the Affordable Care Act in Florida.

However, many experts said that even if it did pass, Florida's Amendment 1 simply could not overrule a federal law, which was also upheld as constitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court.

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Ballot Counting
10:00 am
Tue November 13, 2012

Don't Feel Bad Florida, Arizona Is Still Counting Ballots

Arizona Secretary of State, Ken Bennett, is also dealing with a problematic election this year.
Credit Gage Skidmore /Flickr

Florida may have been a laughingstock on the heels of this presidential election because of its continued inability to conduct an election without a flurry of snafus -- but it's important to note, folks, that we aren't the only state that took a long time to count ballots this year.

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Voting Rights
12:00 pm
Mon November 12, 2012

Supreme Court To Reconsider Minority Protection In Voting Rights Act

The U.S. Supreme Court announced it will take another look at a law protecting minority voting rights.
Credit Rick Stone

The Supreme Court says its going to review whether Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act is unconstitutional. Section 5 requires that certain states and counties receive federal pre-clearance of laws that could potentially impact minority voting rights.

The Hill reports

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Cuban Politics
11:00 am
Mon November 12, 2012

Obama Got Record Share Votes From Miami Cubans

Obama got the biggest share of the Cuban vote that any Democratic presidential candidate has ever received.
Credit Wally Gobetz /Flickr

President Obama may have not technically won the Cuban vote -- but he did manage to score the biggest share of this historically Republican vote that any Democratic presidential candidate has ever gotten.

The Miami Herald reports,

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Veterans Day
10:00 am
Mon November 12, 2012

Voters Approve Veteran Tax Breaks In Time For Veterans Day

Voters approved two separate ballot measures aimed at giving military families tax breaks.
Credit Kate Gardiner /Flickr

Just before Veterans Day, the results of November's election provided some relief for veterans and their spouses in Florida.

Among the many measures up for vote on this year's long and complicated ballot, were two tax exemptions aimed at helping out military families. Those two measures were among three that actually passed last week. There were 11 ballot measures in total.

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Latino Vote
6:35 am
Thu November 8, 2012

Why The Latino Vote In Florida Went To Obama

Credit Jessica Meszaros

The Latino vote has been changing in the past few years in Florida, but it looks like it's mostly been shifting towards Democrats.

And looking at Tuesday night's results, that's particularly true.

For decades, Florida's Latino population has been its mostly Cuban-American residents in South Florida. As we all know, Cubans here lean Republican when they vote.

However, more Latinos of different nationalities are coming to Florida and are effectively shifting its voting trends.

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Ballot Counting
10:50 am
Wed November 7, 2012

Officials Blame Absentee Ballots For Miami Dade Vote Count Problems

Officials point to long ballots as part of why the tallies are taking so long.
Credit Jessica Meszarros

Miami Dade elections officials are blaming absentee ballots -- and particularly their length -- for the county's ballot count hold-up.

Christina White, a spokeswoman for the supervisor for Miami Dade, says that the sheer volume of absentee ballots are to blame for the fact that Miami-Dade still hasn't finished counting ballots.

"Approximately 20,000 absentee ballots are being tabulated right now," White says.

All of the county's 829 precincts closed around 1:30 a.m. last night -- but the counting isn't over. 

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Election 2012
8:37 am
Wed November 7, 2012

Ballot Measures and Big Race Results

Bill Nelson won his third term.
Credit nasa hq photo/ Flickr

 

Big things happened with some items on the top and bottom of your ballot last night. First, 8 of the 11 ballot measures failed this year.

Only three of these ballot measures passed:

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Live Blog: Election 2012
8:12 am
Wed November 7, 2012

From South Florida's Polls To The Election Results: Get The Latest Here

Poll workers had their jobs cut out for them on Election Day.
Credit Dan Grech

8:27 Ballot Measure and Big Races

Here are some things that happened at the top and bottom of the ballot last night.

First, 8 of the 11 ballot measures failed this year.

Only three of these ballot measures passed:

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