JACKSON, Miss. (WDAM) - Some lawmakers in the Magnolia State are calling for a referendum to have a vote on the changing of the state flag.
The state flag is still a talker in Mississippi. The commission is now in place to come up with a new flag design, but there is some possibility of a referendum.
Some lawmakers say- they work for their constituents, and Mississippians should have the right to vote on what flag flies above the state.
The referendum is a grassroots effort in which volunteers and signatures are needed to move the process along.
State Senator Chris McDaniel represents parts of Jones and Forrest counties and is very passionate about the topic. He says the decision to change the flag should be up to the residents of Mississippi.
“They’re all asking for a chance to vote on this issue and, it’s not even a close call,” said McDaniel. “So, the real question is whether or not the people have the drive now and the grassroots support to get it done. Now, based on what I’m seeing and based on what I’m hearing- yes the drive is there and the passion for the issue is there. So now the hard work begins. And the question is- can they collect 100,000 signatures in a relatively short period of time and I think the answer is yes they can.”
McDaniel also says the choice to change the flag was influenced by exterior motives.
“We saw, unequivocally, a lot of outside forces come into play in this debate,” said McDaniel. “I’m going to tell you something- I don’t think the people of this state want to be dictated by outside forces. I don’t think they like being lectured by others with special interests across this country.”
State Senator Joey Fillingane also represents the Pine Belt. According to him, Mississippians are enraged the choice to change the flag wasn’t up to them.
“People are angry,” said Fillingane. “It’s not just that they are concerned or interested. They are mad. They are mad that this decision was taken from them in their opinion... If you are so arrogant as to try and take the people’s voice away from them on this issue, the people will have the final say. They’ll have the final say at the ballot box in 2023 for sure and they’re also very likely going to have a say with this ballot initiative on the ballot in either 2022 or 2023.”
According to the senators, 5,000 volunteers are needed to get the required signatures for a referendum. The initiative needs more than 100,000 signatures from each of the five congressional districts across the state. According to Sen. McDaniel, that equals roughly 26,000 signatures per district. Those signatures have to be from registered voters certified in those particular areas.
To sign up to be a volunteer, visit letmsvote.com.