Vienna attorney to host voter registration drive

Local attorney David A. Sims is offering incentives to convince people to register to vote.

And he hopes these citizens who register will follow through and vote in the upcoming elections.

Wood County Clerk Mark Rhodes, the county’s chief elections officer, said he is glad that Sims is setting up a voter registration day on March 9 at his law office, 1100 Ninth Ave., Suite 1 in Vienna (next door to Applebee’s restaurant).

Rhodes plans to be at Sims’ law office during the voter registration drive next Friday.

The voter registration day is intended to get more people participating in the government process, Sims said.

“You can’t vote if you are not registered,” he said.

Sims is closing his law office for the entire day on Friday for the voter registration drive from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

He plans to have a bank of computers with eight workers to help people register or they can register on paper.

This is not an effort to support a candidate or political party, Sims said.

“It is not political at all,” he said.

Sims hopes to sign up at least 250 new voters. Those who register will have an opportunity to win a drawing for a $250 Visa gift card, he said.

Sims said he told the Humane Society of Parkersburg he would donate $500 to the organization if at least 250 people registered to vote at his office that day.

Hot dogs, potato chips and a drink will be provided for those who register to vote between 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. on Friday, he said.

Sims has asked teachers associations, businesses and agencies to encourage their members to register to vote.

He hopes to register young adults that day. Those who will be 18 years old by Nov. 6 can register now and vote in the primary and general elections, Rhodes said.

Rhodes said the county clerk’s office will be conducting voter registration at West Virginia University at Parkersburg sometime this month and usually signs up young voters at the local high schools.

Rhodes noted he keeps voter registration forms in his vehicle for anyone needing to sign up. Voter registration also is available daily at the courthouse.

The deadline to register to vote in the May primary is April 17.

About 83 percent of Wood County’s population that is eligible to vote is registered to vote (55,999 people), Rhodes said, using June 2016 Census Bureau numbers.

Sims said this is his way of trying to make a difference through the voting process and to shed light on the importance of voting.

There is “no hook” to the voter register day on March 9, Sims said. The names and telephone numbers of those registering will be shredded after the event, he said.

People who have no activity on their voter registration record for seven years are considered inactive and must register again, the county clerk’s office said.

In light of the teachers’ walkout, Sims said he expects the voter registration day in Wood County “to catch on.” Citizens need to make sure the government is “working for us,” Sims said.

Rhodes reminds voters they will need identification when voting this year.


In case you missed Wood County Sheriff Steve Stephens’ Facebook post, I talked to him about the turkey versus truck encounter on Interstate 77 on Friday, Feb. 23.

Dustin A. Balser was driving a single-axle box truck around 4:47 p.m. southbound between the U.S. 50 and Emerson Avenue exits of I-77 when a turkey flew into the truck’s windshield. The turkey broke the windshield and landed on the truck’s console, Stephens said. Pulling off to the side of the highway and getting out of his truck, Balser thought the turkey had died.

But as Balser reached for his personal property on the front seat the turkey “resurrects himself.” The driver took a quick photo before the turkey flew out the passenger side door of the truck.

Balser saw the turkey go over an embankment in the Worthington Creek area, Stephens said. Deputies arriving on the scene looked for the turkey but could not locate the bird. The driver was not seriously injured, Stephens said, but his truck had to be towed from the scene.

That evening Stephens attended the Mid-Ohio Valley chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation banquet at the Nemesis Shrine Center on Watson Road in Wood County. Stephens had photos on his phone of the wild turkey incident to show those in attendance.

Contact Paul LaPann at