JACKSON • Ahead of a looming deadline next week, the nine-member commission that will propose a new state flag design has narrowed the available options down to a final pairing.

Of the two flags remaining, one features a shield and a single star, both against a blue background.

The other features a magnolia bloom surrounded by a wreath of stars, against a blue background with two bars of red at either end of the flag.

Both flags contain the words, “In God We Trust.” This was required by the legislation that retired Mississippi’s former flag and initiated a process to replace it.

After viewing five flag designs flown on a pole at the Old Capitol grounds in downtown Jackson, flag commissioners deliberated over the designs ahead of a final vote next week, which will decide on a single design to place on November’s ballot for an up-or-down vote.

Four of the final five flags featured a magnolia bloom some capacity, and commissioners wanted to consolidate similar designs and solicit additional public feedback before making a final decision.

That feedback will include an additional nonbinding online poll hosted on the website of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History.

“I think we are dividing up the votes amongst flags that are very similar,” said Oxford Mayor Robyn Tannehill, who sits on the commission.

Tannehill is one of two Northeast Mississippi residents to sit on the flag commission. The other is Betsey Hamilton, of New Albany, who also sits on the board of the Department of Archives and History.

On Tuesday, some commissioners were eager to dive into the design details, while others seemed generally pleased with the entire slate of remaining flags.

“All of them look good to me,” said Reuben Anderson, a former state Supreme Court justice.

If voters approve the flag commission’s final choice in November, the Legislature will formally adopt that design as the state flag sometime next year. If voters reject the commission’s choice, the commission will go back to work and select another design for a new referendum election.

caleb.bedillion@journalinc.com

Twitter: @CalebBedillion

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