Ashley Lopez | KUT

Ashley Lopez moderates a panel on federal immigration policy in July 2018.
Credit Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Ashley Lopez joined KUT in January 2016. She covers politics and health care, and is part of the NPR-Kaiser Health News reporting collaborative. Previously she worked as a reporter at public radio stations in Louisville, Ky.; Miami and Fort Myers, Fla., where she won a National Edward R. Murrow Award.

Ashley was also part of NPR’s Political Reporting Partnership during the 2016 presidential election. She earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism and political science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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Todd Wiseman / Texas Tribune

A handful of state lawmakers want the Texas Department of Public Safety to allow you to register vote when getting a driver’s license or ID card, or when updating information, at the DMV. 

Right now, the so-called "motor voter" system works a little differently, depending on whether you do any of this in-person versus online. However, there have been a couple of bills filed for the upcoming legislative session aimed at changing that.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

The voter ID law caused a lot of confusion at the polls during this year’s election. There were even lawsuits filed, but the fight over voter ID was already sure to stay alive in the courts.

In fact, the seemingly endless battle over the Texas voter ID law might get more complicated.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The fourth open enrollment period for the federal health insurance program is in full swing. People who can’t get insurance through an employer, Medicaid or Medicare can now buy private insurance through the Affordable Care Act until Jan. 31.

But there’s some uncertainty about the program’s future this time around.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

President-elect Donald Trump told "60 Minutes" in an interview this weekend that he plans to immediately deport roughly two to three million undocumented immigrants upon taking office. That announcement is something many immigrants here in Austin have been fearing since election night.

On Sunday morning, hundreds of people gathered at City Hall to show support for the city’s immigrant community, where city lawmakers also pledged local support. 

Stephanie Tacy for KUT

Protesters have been marching in major cities across the U.S.  –including here in Austin – in opposition to Donald Trump’s election on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, protesters in Austin rallied at UT Austin and then marched down to the Texas State Capitol.

Here's what some of them had to say.


Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

Republicans in Texas and across the United States had a great night last night. In Texas, though, the margin of victory for Donald Trump was narrower than it’s been for Republicans in 20 years. 


Miguel Gutierrez Jr./KUT News

More than 50 percent of registered voters in both Travis and Williamson counties have already cast ballots during early voting. If you weren't among them, now is your chance to make your voice heard.

Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday. 

Before you head out, here are a few things you might want to do.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

Since early voting started last week, there’s been some confusion about the Texas voter ID law.

This summer, a court ordered the state to change the law and then spend $2.5 million educating voters about those changes. But, voting rights groups say that last part hasn’t gone so well, and some experts say the language used to communicate those changes could be part of the problem.

Veronica Zaragovia/KUT

In 2011, Texas started cutting millions of dollars from the state Early Childhood Intervention program (ECI). At the time, they estimated it would lead to 9 percent reduction in the number of kids that could enter the program. That includes kids with speech delays, Down syndrome, autism and other challenges.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

The state’s top election official says he’s doing all he can to make sure counties are following a court order regarding the state’s voter ID law.

Ilana Panich-Linsman for KUT

Voters in parts of Central Austin, East Austin and Pflugerville are voting for a representative for Texas House District 46 right now. And, even though there are technically two people on the ballot, only one candidate is actually planning to serve in that office.

Michael Stravato, via Texas Tribune

Believe it or not, Mexico's family planning policies are more progressive than the United States' in one pretty big way.

According to a new study from the Texas Policy Evaluation Project based at UT-Austin, Mexican-born women who recently gave birth have an easier time obtaining long-acting birth control like intrauterine devices (IUDs)  in Mexico than in the United States.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein made stops in Austin yesterday. Before an event at Huston-Tillotson University Monday evening, Stein met with a small crowd at a public library downtown. The event was specifically geared toward Texans who are disabled.


Photo by KUT News

Ever since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a major part of the Voting Rights Act a couple of years ago, states like Texas haven’t had federal oversight in elections.

As a result, civil rights groups have had to flag and sometimes sue state official over violations of federal voting laws ahead of this year’s election.

So, yeah. This year has been a bummer for democracy. Like many of you, I’ve been avoiding political ads like I avoid I-35.

That is, until I saw a new ad from Gerald Daugherty, a moderate Republican running for re-election to the Travis County Commission’s Precinct Three seat. For those that don't know Daugherty, he's the lone conservative on the county commission. His main issue has been getting State Highway 45 Southwest built — which would connect FM 1626 in Hays County to MoPac in southwest Austin.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. /KUT News

The head of the largest Latino advocacy group in the U.S. says both major political parties in Texas dropped the ball on Latino voter outreach this year.


Tamir Kalifa / Texas Tribune

Texans across the state will soon be inundated with TV and radio ads ahead of this year’s presidential election. However, the ads won't be from candidates running for office, but from the state of Texas. The state-funded ads are intended to inform voters of the recent court-ordered changes to Texas' voter ID law.

Nathan Bernier / KUT

Today is the last possible day to register to vote in Texas. And, if you haven’t gotten around to registering, don't worry. We got you.

Here are some of your options:

If you already have a voter registration form sitting around in your house and you just haven’t mailed it in, make sure you mail it in and get it postmarked by midnight today. 

If you don’t have a form, in-person registration is the way to go. In Austin, you have a lot of spots for that because two local businesses are working with Travis County’s voter registrar to help voters get registered today.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

Election officials in Texas are being accused of violating the Voting Rights Act, again.

This time it’s because dozens of county election administrators are not providing bilingual voter information on their websites, according to the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF).

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT News

It’s going to be easier for some populations to vote this year because of recent court-ordered changes to the voter ID law.  One group is the state’s homeless population, which typically faces many hurdles casting a ballot.

Pu Ying-Huang for KUT News

Over the next four months, Texas officials will be offloading programs aimed at helping newly arrived refugees. Last week, the state announced it was leaving the federal refugee resettlement program after four decades in the program.


Qiling Wang for KUT

In less than a month, the window for registering for this year’s presidential election will close. That’s why on Tuesday's National Voter Registration Day groups were helping folks all over the city get registered – and that includes people who are blind.


Todd Wiseman / Texas Tribune

Late last week, the Texas Supreme Court declined to hear a lawsuit about whether decreasing Medicaid reimbursements for programs providing therapies to infants and toddlers with disabilities or developmental delays in Texas is legal, which means cuts are likely imminent.


Pu Ying Huang for KUT News

The way refugees are resettled in Texas could be in for a big shakeup.

Yesterday, state officials threatened to withdraw from the federal refugee resettlement program if the feds don’t approve the state’s plan, which has some controversial elements — including a cap on the number of refugees the state takes in and a stricter screening process for refugees.


Marjorie Kamys Cotera, Texas Tribune

The state of Texas is threatening to withdraw from the federal refugee resettlement program, if the feds don't accept the state's proposal for continuing the program in the next fiscal year. 

Dell Medical School, via YouTube

Questions were raised during a Travis County Commissioner’s Court yesterday about how UT Austin’s Dell Medical School spends taxpayer money.


Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

For about a month now, Texas has provided mosquito repellant to low-income women and children. It’s in an effort to prevent the spread of Zika – just in case the virus infects local mosquito populations. 


Photo by Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

A federal judge sided again today with plaintiffs in the long legal battle over Texas' voter ID law.

This time, the U.S. Department of Justice joined the group of Texas voters challenging the state’s law, arguing Texas election officials were misleading voters about court-ordered changes to the law.

KUT News

State lawmakers are discussing today what to do about a plan to cut Medicaid reimbursement rates for groups that provide therapy to young children with developmental issues.

Ilana Panich-Linsman for KUT

We are about a month away from early voting in Texas for this year’s presidential election and vital information regarding recent changes to the state’s controversial voter ID law are largely absent from county websites.


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