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Panel sees dozens of design submissions for new Minnesota flag within first few days of entries

Dozens of new Minnesota state flag, seal submissions pour in
Dozens of new Minnesota state flag, seal submissions pour in 02:11

ST. PAUL, Minn. — A new panel tasked with choosing a new state flag has received "a few hundred" submissions from Minnesotans sharing their ideas, the group's administrator said by email.

The State Emblems Redesign Commission opened an online form seeking public input on Monday and received 50 entries in less than 24 hours. That's climbed in the days since.

State law says the designs "must accurately and respectfully reflect Minnesota's shared history, resources, and diverse cultural communities," and "symbols, emblems, or likenesses that represent only a single community or person, regardless of whether real or stylized, may not be included in a design."

Applications will be accepted until Oct. 30, and the commission must submit a report with new designs for the state seal and flag to the legislature by Jan. 1 so they can be officially adopted by Statehood Day May 11.

RELATED: Commission tasked with designing new Minnesota flag, seal meets for the first time

"There has been a lot of interest and excitement from the public about a new state flag and seal. We are in the process of sorting through the submissions, but we know that we have received a few hundred submissions since Monday," David Kelliher with the Minnesota Historical Society wrote in an email. He is not on the panel, but is providing administrative support.

Right now, the state flag is Minnesota's official seal on a blue background with its name, which is very similar to several other states' flags.

The current flag dates back to 1957 and the seal was adopted in 1861. Supporters of changing Minnesota's official symbols say the current design contains offensive imagery — a settler tilling the land as a Native American rides off into the distance — and it violates the tenets of "good flag design," or a simple flag with meaningful symbols.

Kevin Gallatin flies the "North Star Flag," an alternative that's been around for decades and sold online and in local flag stores. It was created by Rev. William Becker of Winona and Lee Herold of Rochester, who told WCCO last year that the flag is more popular at his store than the official state flag.

The "North Star Flag" designed by Rev. William Becker and Lee Herold Minnesotans For a Better Flag

Gallatin believes this flag's symbolism is "evocative" of Minnesota and hopes the commission chooses it among the five finalists. But he's excited that no matter the design, the flag will get a facelift.

He wants the new flag to resonant in the same way as the flags of California, Colorado, Arizona, Maryland, and others.

RELATED: Minnesota lawmakers to hear proposal to redesign state flag over "racist undertones"

"I want to see state pride in our flag. I want to see it on merchandise. I want to see it flown at sporting events. I want people to be able to recognize it anywhere in the country," Gallatin said. 

Brandon Hundt of St. Paul submitted his own design, which he calls "L'etoile du Nord" — French for the "North Star." It has a four-point gold star with another white star design on top of it displayed on a blue background.

He chose blue for Minnesota's lakes and the star for the state's motto, and thinks it captures Minnesota's winters.

Brandon Hundt's "L'etoile du Nord" flag Brandon Hundt

"I've thought a lot about it. I've gone through a lot of concepts, but I keep coming back to this one in particular," Hundt said. "When I share my flag, it gets more positive feedback than I even would have anticipated even before this became a thing."

After the commission chooses the five finalists, the public will get to weigh in again. Minnesotans must be 18 years or older to submit and are allowed to enter three entries for the flag and three separate entries for the seal, which is on official government documents.

If you're interested in submitting your own designs, click here.

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