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Kansans: Vote for the state’s next license plate design

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After announcing a new license plate design, then hitting the brakes in response to Kansans’ reactions, the governor’s office has announced an opportunity to vote on what the next plates will look like.

Kansans can now visit KSPlates.kansas.gov and vote as many times as they’d like for any of five new proposed license plates designs. Voting is open until 5 p.m. Friday, Dec. 15, and the winning plate will be announced Monday, Dec. 18.

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Gov. Laura Kelly on Nov. 22 announced a new plate design that drew criticism from many residents in the state. Some compared the plates to old New York state license plates; others said the colors reminded them of a non-Kansas university’s colors. That proposed design is among the five options.

Kelly said in a Monday news release from her office that “Kansans have offered their thoughts on our state’s next license plate through social media and elsewhere, even sending potential designs to my office. 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 designs were created by Mammoth Creative Co., a Kansas-based marketing firm, in partnership with Kansas Tourism, according to the release.

“The five options, while continuing to align with Kansas Tourism’s ‘To the Stars’ branding and the already announced guidelines, incorporate previous public feedback such as a lighter blue on the original proposal, a State of Kansas outline, wheat, and sunflowers,” according to the release. “The plate proposals were also chosen because they prioritize public safety. Clear, simple designs enable law enforcement officers and traffic systems to quickly and easily read the license plate number.”

Captain Candice Breshears of the Kansas Highway Patrol said in the release that it’s critical to be able to quickly identify a vehicle by the license plate, “whether that be when reporting erratic driving behaviors, crashes, or Amber Alerts to law enforcement.”

“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,” Breshears said.

Steve Hewitt, CEO of the Kansas Turnpike Authority, said in the release that legible and high-contrast plates are important for the Kansas Turnpike and other toll roads.

“Having clear State of Kansas license plates will be crucial in keeping tolls low as we transition to cashless tolling in mid-2024,” Hewitt said in the release.

The state incurred no additional costs for designing the new plate options or the voting website, according to the release. Both were covered by existing contracts with Kansas-based firms.

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