The voters will decide if Mississippi needs a new flag, and as taxpayers, they will also pay to make that decision. Pam Metzler, Hancock County Circuit Clerk, says, "I estimate with Hancock County, we only have 28 precincts and we'll probably use minimal poll workers, I think we're lookin' at anywhere from ten to 15-thousand" Metzler says the county always budgets for special elections, so the supervisors won't have to find the money somewhere else.
In Harrison County, the circuit clerk expects election costs to be much higher. Circuit Clerk Gayle Parker says, "The county will have to fund the pollworkers ya know and that's quite expensive for 60 something precincts that we have and I anticipate that's probably gonna run around 50-thousand dollars, maybe a little bit more." Since that money isn't in Parker's budget, Supervisor Larry Benefield says they may have to dip into the yearly million dollar escrow account to pay those costs. "Any available funds, whether it be the escrow account or whereever we have to find those dollars and again that's why we have these type of accounts," Benefield says.
Metzler and Parker say many people are registering to vote in what could be the most devisive issue the state's citizens have decided. That leads both women to speculate about voter turnout on April 17th. "We're havin' people come in and registering who are on both sides of the issue. I'm not exactly sure about the turnout yet, but I anticipate we will have a big turnout," says Parker. Metzler says, "A lot of people are interested in this election, this issue, a lot of 'em on both sides, some for or some against but we've had a big increase in voter registration for the flag issue alone.