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Sumter County GOP pushed early vote to show 'enthusiasm' for Trump

I voted stickers.
Element 5 Digital @element5digital
Creative Commons via Flickr
Photo: Element 5 Digital @element5digital

There's no real contest in Florida's Presidential Preference Primary on Tuesday.

Democrats don't even have a primary. And on the Republican side, former President Donald Trump's competition has already dropped out.

But in Sumter County — where most of The Villages is located — Republicans are turning out anyway, with early voting and vote by mail, in a higher percentage than the rest of Central Florida.

The GOP-dominated county, with one of the oldest populations in the nation, traditionally has a very high voter turnout. It was 88% in the 2020 general election.

And for this GOP presidential primary more than 25% of Republicans have already voted there.

Sumter County Republican Party Chairman Samantha Scott says the grassroots are "energized."

Plus, in an interview on Friday, she said they've made a real effort to "bank the vote" with mail-in ballots and early voting.

"We have some folks in the phone bank today even, I mean, making several thousand calls to historically lower voter turnout precincts ... just because we are excited about the opportunity to vote for President Trump and we want to make sure that that enthusiasm is shown at the ballot box," she said.

As for the rest of Central Florida, the turnout so far ranges from 9% in Lake County to 14% in Volusia.

Municipal elections also wrap up Tuesday in Apopka, Eatonville, Edgewood, Flagler Beach, Maitland, Ocoee, Oakland, Winter Garden and Winter Park.

Voters in Ocoee, Edgewood and Eatonville will consider changes to their charters. Maitland voters are being asked to approve a bond issue for a new public library.

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

Joe Byrnes came to Central Florida Public Media from the Ocala Star-Banner and The Gainesville Sun, where he worked as a reporter and editor for several years. Joe graduated from Loyola University in New Orleans and turned to journalism after teaching. He enjoys freshwater fishing and family gatherings.
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