Mississippi will not put a huge mosquito on its new state flag.
The state department of archives and history (MDAH) said on Tuesday that a design featuring the blood-sucking insect had slipped through the screening process and should not have been among the selections posted online on Monday.
Mississippi recently retired the last state banner with the Confederate battle emblem that is widely condemned as racist. A nine-member commission will recommend a replacement flag that, by legislative mandate, cannot include the Confederate symbol and must have the phrase “In God We Trust”.
In the first round of a selection process, the public submitted nearly 3,000 designs. The commission narrowed that to 147 proposals making the second round, and the department put those on its website. One had a giant mosquito surrounded by a circle of stars, a design that has since been zapped.
“The mosquito flag advanced to Round Two due to a typo in a list of flag numbers submitted by one commissioner,” the agency said in a statement Tuesday. “That commissioner has requested that the flag be removed from the Round Two gallery, and MDAH staff has complied.”
Many of the remaining designs have magnolias and stars. Some have wavy lines that could represent the waters of the Mississippi River or the Gulf of Mexico.
On Friday, the nine commissioners will choose the final five. By early September, they will agree on a single design to put on the 3 November statewide ballot.
The commissioners could accept one of the public submissions, combine elements from different designs or start from scratch and draw their own.
If voters accept the commission’s proposal, that design will become the new Mississippi flag. If they reject it, commissioners will draw a new design that will be put on the ballot later.