The Republican Federated Women of The Villages did not spend time during the midterms sitting down, nor did they take Florida’s statewide elections for granted. This active club worked very hard to help secure victories for Governor DeSantis, Senator Rubio, and other Republican candidates. Through their grassroots efforts, the group made over 156,000 get-out-the-vote calls and participated in 265 walks at area recreation centers.
Their hard work drew praise from the Sumter County Republican Chairwoman Samantha Scott, who said to the group “Your efforts in the phone bank engaged and encouraged Conservative voters in Sumter County and beyond.” More than 62 volunteers worked in 12-person teams for three-hour shifts at a call center. Diane Olsen and her husband Mike Plocharczyk spearheaded the phone banking. This was Olsen’s fourth time leading this effort, and she has watched the operation grow from a handful of volunteers in her kitchen to the large operation it is today. “So much good was done,” she said. In many instances, volunteers were able to help seniors who couldn’t use the internet or find their polling location. Some volunteers even helped voters get in touch with the Supervisor of Elections. “These calls got more and more positive as we went along,” said Olsen. She had a very positive experience with a 70-year-old veteran who initially told her he had given up on voting. Olsen stayed on the phone with the man, telling him it is because of veterans like him that we have the ability to vote. Ultimately Olsen was able to convince him to go vote. After she hung up the phone, all 12 volunteers cheered for her.
During the group’s “Walks for DeSantis”, volunteers engaged with potential voters and educated them about the Republican candidates on the ballot. The volunteers took to the streets twice a month at Lake Sumter Landing, Rohan Rec Center, and Lake Miona Rec Center. Olsen said people appreciated talking honestly and having civil discussions with the volunteers. She also said voters preferred having conversations over reading and seeing paid political advertising.
The club was asked to assist the Herschell Walker Senatorial campaign by making phone calls and helping get out the vote in Georgia. Those efforts are enthusiastically underway. The club encourages anyone who wants to help them with phone calls to email Diane at firstname.lastname@example.org.