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Legal and policy issues and campaigning strategy relevant to the 21st congressional district election in Florida

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  1. Overview.
  2. Facts about the 21st Congressional District of Florida.
    1. Geography.
    2. Demographic characteristics.
    3. Voting demographics.
    4. The republican incumbent.
    5. The democratic challenger.
    6. 21st district elections since 1992.
  3. Legal issues in the 21st district.
    1. Introduction.
    2. The right to vote in Florida.
    3. Section 5 and section 2 of the Voter's Right Act.
    4. Districting/gerrymandering.
    5. Campaign finance.
    6. Helping America Vote Act.
  4. Policy issues in the 21st district.
    1. Current exile opinion of Cuba policy.
    2. Approach to the older exiles.
    3. Approach to younger exiles.
    4. Winning the Cuban vote as a whole.
    5. Position on Iraq.
  5. Conclusion of the study.

This paper will outline the legal and policy issues that are pertinent to your election campaign against incumbent Lincoln Diaz-Balart in the 21st U.S. Congressional District of Florida (herein after the 21st District, the District, or the 21st). We start with a general fact summary of the 21st District. This entails the geography, demographics, and voter statistics of the District. Also, background information about the incumbent and challenger, as well as election results from each election for the District seat since Diaz came to office in 1993 will be examined. Next, we will discuss campaign strategy. An outline of how you will conduct your campaign to bring your message to the voters of the 21st will be given. More specifically, your strategy of using your limited financial resources to your benefit by portraying yourself as a populist, compared to the bureaucratic image of Diaz. Then we will consider legal issues that are imperative to every election, such as the right to vote, the applicability of the Voters Rights Act (VHA), districting, gerrymandering, campaign finance, and the Helping America Vote Act (HAVA) will be analyzed. Finally, the most important policy issue to the constituents of the 21st District will be examined: U.S. policy to Cuba. Crafting a policy that appeals to Cuban-Americans of all ages will be the determinative factor in the race for the 21st. However, the War in Iraq will also be briefly addressed. A general background of any subject provides one with a good starting point. Thus, we begin our study there.

[...] On Monday, go to bars and pubs in the southern part of the District and campaign to football fans watching Monday Night Football. Start from the southern part of the District, and advance north. On each day of the week you must ?beat the streets.? Project your message to the voters, but more importantly: let the voters see that they can touch you; that they can relate to you; that you are one of them. Develop the trigger thumb like Congressmen Lewis.[22] More than likely, if we walk with the wind day in and day out, the media will likely pay attention occasionally. [...]

[...] The requirements for this are: at least 18 years old, a citizen of the United States, a legal resident of Florida, and a legal resident of the county in which that person wishes to vote.[27] Florida's Constitution disqualifies the mentally incompetent and those convicted of a felony that have not had their civil rights restored.[28] The Clemency Board compromised of the Governor of Florida and three members of the cabinet may restore civil rights.[29] First, although the majority of the District was born in Latin America, specifically Cuba, the qualification of legal residency of the U.S. [...]

[...] Please see the appendix A and B attached to this paper for a map of the 21st District, as well as a map of the Congressional landscape of Florida as whole. A written description can provide a general understanding, but visuals are more effective when dealing with geography. 2002 American Community Survey Profile, Population and Housing profile: Congressional District 21, Florida, available at Florida State Senate, Congressional District by County Statistics, available at y.pdf. See footnote 2 for reference of statistics. [...]

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