There may be enough support among state legislators in South Carolina to remove the Confederate Flag from state buildings and grounds, according to a new survey.
Among the 123 state House representatives and 45 state Senators, 83 House members and 33 Senators have indicated support to remove the flag, the Post and Courier Newspaper reported.
The Post and Courier conducted the informal survey with the South Carolina Press Association and the Associated Press that have since revealed the first indication that the Confederate Flag, now seen as a symbol of negativity in the wake of the church shooting in Charleston, S.C. on June 17, may officially be removed from government property.
The removal of the flag would need a two-thirds majority by the state Legislature. In other words, 112 votes total between the House and Senate would be required to remove the flag; the survey indicates 116 “Yes” votes so far. However, the final tally is unclear as legislators may not be in attendance or may abstain from voting, the Associated Press noted.
Just last week, Republican Gov. Nikki Haley supported the removal of the flag, calling it a “deeply offensive symbol of a brutally oppressive past.” After her speech, lawmakers scheduled a special vote on the removal of the flag which will likely take place on July 6, when legislators return to discuss the Governor’s budget vetoes.
“I just think that it’s time. It’s causing too many problems … I think it needs to be in a place of honor, but probably not on the Statehouse grounds,” said Republican state Rep. Mike Forrester.
Other legislators will vote to remove the flag, solely to honor one of the victims in the church shooting, Reverend and state Senator Clementa Pinckney.
“While I have long regarded the flag as a symbol of Southern history and heritage, it has clearly been co-opted by those who harbor feelings of racial enmity, and it has become a symbol of division and hatred. For that reason, I can no longer support flying the Confederate battle flag on the grounds of the State House in Columbia,” Republican Rep. Alan Clemmons wrote on his Facebook page.