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‘No’ votes lead in Forrest Co. Confederate monument relocation vote

The Confederate statue was donated to the county in 1910
The Confederate statue was donated to the county in 1910(WDAM)
Updated: Nov. 3, 2020 at 11:09 PM CST
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HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - So far, 54% of Forrest County voters are against removing a Confederate monument from outside the county courthouse with thousands of absentee ballots left to be counted.

With all 34 precincts reporting, a total of 13,811 people voted against moving the monument, with 11,793 voting to move it to a more suitable location.

Around 4,500 absentee and affidavit ballots remain to be counted. Forrest County Circuit Clerk Gwen Wilks said the counting will resume Wednesday morning.

The monument sits outside the Forrest County Circuit Courthouse at the intersection of Main Street and Eaton Street in Hattiesburg. It was donated to the county in 1910 by the United Daughters of the Confederacy and is engraved with “to the men and women of the Confederacy.”

The Forrest County Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 on June 15 to place the issue on the ballot.

The divided board vote came days after Hattiesburg Mayor Toby Barker called for a dialogue on moving the monument to a more appropriate location, offering the city’s assistance in doing so.

A day after the Forrest County board vote, the Hattiesburg City Council unanimously passed a resolution supporting the relocation of the monument.

Calls to move the monument increased during protests that followed the death of George Floyd at the hands of police officers in Minneapolis, Minnesota in May.

County supervisors did not specify an alternate location the monument could be moved to, but board attorney David Miller asked the Hattiesburg City Council to consider allowing the county to move the monument to Oaklawn Cemetery if Forrest County residents voted to move it.

In Miller’s proposal, the county and city would split the costs of relocating the monument.

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