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Five new Kansas license plate designs offered after first try met with widespread disgust

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Five new Kansas license plate designs offered after first try met with widespread disgust

Dec 11, 2023 | 1:01 pm ET
By Rachel Mipro
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Five new Kansas license plate designs offered after first try met with widespread disgust
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After the first design was panned, Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly's administration offered to take public input into consideration for new Kansas license plate designs. (Kansas Reflector screen capture from Kansas Department of Revenue)

TOPEKA — Kansans now have a five-day window to vote on license plate designs after overwhelming public criticism of the original plate proposal. 

The first design, released in late November, was similar in appearance to old New York license plates and had a University of Missouri color scheme. Gov. Laura Kelly quickly yanked the proposed plate after state lawmakers on both sides of the aisle voiced their concerns over the design, reporting a flood of complaints from constituents. 

“Kansans have offered their thoughts on our state’s next license plate through social media and elsewhere, even sending potential designs to my office,” Kelly said. “Many of these designs were beautiful, but we’re moving forward with this voting process to ensure law enforcement can easily read the selected license plate and to get safer plates on the streets as soon as possible.”

The five new proposed plate designs are meant to prioritize clear and simple tags that allow for easy plate number identification. A Kansas-based marketing firm drew up the designs after incorporating public feedback on design colors and images.

Designs range from a light blue and yellow color scheme featuring the Statehouse dome to a sunflower design backed by yellow and blue writing. Another design has a blue and white pattern with prominently displayed wheat stalks. 

“It is critical that Kansans be able to quickly identify a vehicle by its license plate – whether that be when reporting erratic driving behaviors, crashes, or Amber Alerts to law enforcement,” said Captain Candice Breshears of the Kansas Highway Patrol. “Every second counts in an emergency, which is why we appreciate that the backgrounds of these license plates do not interfere with the plate combinations.”

State residents can vote for their favorite designs by casting votes on a new government website before voting closes at 5 p.m. on Friday. The new design will be announced Dec. 18. 

While the license plate distribution timeline will be changed because of the altered design process, the state wasn’t charged extra for the additional designs or for the creation of the plate design voting website, according to the governor’s office.

All license plates will continue to be printed with the current design until the new one is selected and implemented.