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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Latino Vote
4:14 pm
Mon November 5, 2012

Expert Says Romney's Bad Latino Numbers Could Cost Him Swing States, Election

Mitt Romney could lose this election because of the Latino vote, a pollster says.
Credit Austen Hufford /Flickr

Any expert will tell you that this election comes down to a few swing states, including Florida.

However, within those key swing states is the all-powerful Latino vote, and experts say that this voting population could very likely cost Mitt Romney the election.

The Hill reports,

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Voting
2:00 pm
Mon November 5, 2012

How Facebook Got People To The Polls On Sunday

People in Doral wait in a long line to vote in an impromptu voting location Sunday.
Credit Ashley Lopez / WLRN

It was a last minute announcement made by Miami Dade Elections Officials, but somehow hundreds of voters showed up to vote this Sunday.

According to voters lined up that day, they have Facebook to thank for finding out about that impromptu voting day.

Last year, state lawmakers cut down early voting days and controversially eliminated the Sunday before Election Day.

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Florida
10:30 am
Mon November 5, 2012

Florida As Described By The New Yorker

Credit Willy Volk /Flickr

Florida may be center stage for this year's election, but its also a largely complicated and interesting place to outsiders during non-election years.

For years, The New Yorker has been filing colorful, surprising and harrowing stories from Florida, which they have compiled to give readers a different look at this largely misunderstood state. Here are some of the magazine's observations about Florida through the years as told through their reporting:

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Breaking
12:08 pm
Sun November 4, 2012

You Can Still Vote on Sunday

People stood in a five hour long line in West Dade Regional Library yesterday waiting to vote on the last day of early voting.
Credit Ashley Lopez /WLRN

From 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. today you can vote at the Miami-Dade Supervisor of Elections office.

Here is a press release from the Miami Dade Elections office,

In an effort to continue serving eager voters on the final Sunday before Election Day, the Elections Department is opening its doors to voters.

While state law does not permit Early Voting today, we are permitted to provide and accept absentee ballots.

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Foreclosure Crisis
5:06 pm
Fri November 2, 2012

(Some) Foreclosure Money Is On Its Way to Homeowners

Florida is finally going to spend money it was given for foreclosure relief.
Credit 401(K) 2012 /Flickr

Florida-- including South Florida--could finally be getting the millions of dollars it won in a settlement with big banks over bad mortgages and foreclosures. 

In the past several months about $300 million dollars given to Florida has been locked up in a battle between Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi and the state Legislature. Each party claims that they have the authority to decide how the money is spent.

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Reptile Day
2:27 pm
Fri November 2, 2012

Miami Science Museum Is Going To Teach You How To Eat Like A Lizard

You can eat like a lizard if you go to Reptile Day at the Miami Science Museum.
Credit Ashley Lopez / WLRN

Here's a break from the relentness news about this year's election.

For those of you not stuck in a long line on the last day of early voting on Saturday, you can distract yourself at the Miami Science Museum's Reptile Day.

Among the many activities they are putting together is a "live python animal presentation," a turtle race and an "eat like a reptile cooking demonstration."

Yes. You read right. There will be food served that is typically eaten by lizards.

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Absentee Ballots
11:00 am
Fri November 2, 2012

Palm Beach Sued Over Signature Issue on Absentee Ballots

Palm Beach woman is suing her elections supervisor for not counting her absentee ballot.
Credit Morten Wulff/ Flickr

Here at WLRN, we've gotten a report of at least one person was allowed to vote in South Florida because officials did not believe the signature on his ballot was indeed his.

A Broward election official said situations like this could be remedied by a voter simply updating their signature in person at the supervisor of elections office in the county they vote in.

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Partisan Politics
10:00 am
Fri November 2, 2012

Washington Post: Allen West and Alan Grayson Are 'Embodiment of Hyperpartisanship'

Allen West and Alan Grayson could be facing each other as two of the most partisan politicians in the U.S. House.
Credit Gage Skidmore /Flickr

Besides a contentious presidential election, Floridians are also voting on key congressional races this year. 

Among those races is former congressman Alan Grayson's possible return to the U.S. House, as well as Rep. Allen West's, R-Florida, re-election where he faces off newcomer Patrick Murphy.

Right now, Grayson is (very) well positioned to win his race. West has out-raised Murphy by millions of dollars and has an edge in the polls.

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Politics And Foul Play
11:00 am
Thu November 1, 2012

Scams And Shenanigans To Watch Out For When You Vote

Voters need to be on the look out for political foul play as incidences of shenanigans is on the rise.
Credit Columbia City Blog /Flickr

As you all head to the polls between now and next Tuesday, be vigilant for voting scams and general shenanigans.

The Associated Press reported yesterday that voters in Florida have been inundated with some foul play this election season.

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Hispanic Vote
10:00 am
Thu November 1, 2012

Cubans Are Closing Obama's Lead Among Hispanics In Florida

Obama's lead among Hispanics is strong everywhere-- except Florida.
Credit Matt Ortega /Flickr

Obama might have a sizeable lead among Hispanics nationwide-- but that doesn't seem to be the case in Florida.

Here, Obama's lead is razor thin. As Marc Caputo at The Miami Herald reports, that's because of Florida's Cuban population, which votes heavily Republican.

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Broward Mental Health
11:00 am
Wed October 31, 2012

The Politics Of Mental Health Services In Broward

A shareholder for Concordia gave $125, 000 to Gov. Rick Scott's political action committee while DCF considered Broward Behavioral's bid for a contract.
Credit Florida Department of Children and Families / www.dcf.state.fl.us

Dan Christensen of Browardbulldog.org reported last week on some of the interesting characters that were (sort of) part of a privatization deal between the Department of Children and Families and a company in Broward.

DCF put out a bid several months ago to privatize the management of mental health and substance abuse services in Broward County.

A non-profit group called Broward Behavioral Health Coalition eventually won the $45 million deal from DCF.

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Zombies
10:00 am
Wed October 31, 2012

VIDEO: Group Tells Floridians To Vote In Order To Avoid Zombie Apocalypse

Well, Happy Halloween everyone.

In the spirit of today's festivities, here is a video from Florida New Majority (they have an office here in Miami) that warns Floridians that the only way to avoid a "Romney Zombie Apocalypse" is to vote.

The group says:

In a state plagued by natural disasters, exploding pythons, and the strangest politics on the planet, Florida voters are bracing for the latest horror -- zombie apocalypse! 

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Printing Problems
2:00 pm
Tue October 30, 2012

More Ballot Problems in Palm Beach

Palm Beach has another ballot printing error.
Credit Chris Coleman/ Flickr

Palm Beach County has seen yet another printing problem during this election.

According to The Palm Beach Post, "Elections Supervisor Susan Bucher said Monday that she has been forced to send new absentee ballots to about 500 county residents because of a new printing error."

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Voting
11:56 am
Tue October 30, 2012

Election Day Polling Location In Broward Closes

A voting location in Broward has closed for Election Day.
Credit Eliza Brown/ Flickr

A fire in the First Church of God in Broward (1242 N. Andrews Ave, Fort Lauderdale) has closed that polling location for Election Day.

Everyone who is assigned to that location will now be voting at Thurgood Marshall Elementary School located at 800 NW 13 Street.

This is a temporary change, which means no one will be issued a voting card for that precinct. Every voter in that precinct should have received a letter notifying them of this change.

If you have any questions or concerns about this change, voters are encouraged to call 954-357-7050. 

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Voting
10:30 am
Tue October 30, 2012

Why Miami's Early Voting Lines Are So Long

Voters waiting in a two hour line to vote in Miami Dade.
Credit Ashley Lopez / WLRN

This weekend, thousands of early voters in Miami stood through some very long lines.

And it looks like the line hasn't let up.

On Monday afternoon, a workday, lines where still up to four hours in Miami Dade.

At North Dade Regional Library the wait was three-and-a-half hours. At Coral Reef and West Dade Regional Library it was about three hours, as well. However, the longest lines in the county were at North Dade Regional Library, where the wait time there was a grueling four hours. 

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