Florida has a hard time pulling off elections without trouble, but the state is trying again. This time, it’s for the Sunshine State’s next-generation license plate.
The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles is asking Floridians to vote on one of four choices, online, starting today and until Dec. 14. The plate with the most votes replaces existing plates beginning in 2014. You can vote by clicking on the image of the four plates above, which will take you to the voting booth, or by clicking here. Let us know your preferences in the comments.
Nothing stops anyone from around the globe from clicking a vote, so the license plate’s choice may be influenced by Siberians or Saudi Arabians.
The state says the new plates won’t cost drivers more than current plates, even though they will cost more to produce once the production line is privatized. “Estimates from our vendor and others indicate that this price could increase to a price between $2.10 and $2.29 per plate,” a 40-page motor vehicle department document on the redesign, issued in September, concludes. However, the state estimates, postage fees would decrease slightly for the new, flat plates. For those who get their plates by mail, that may be an advantage. But most people get their plates at tax collectors’ offices.
A committee of some 20 stakeholders, including state agency personnel, law enforcement, tax collectors and affiliated associations participated in the development of the final license plate designs. The motor vehicle department’s in-house graphics artist created the proposed designs.
All four proposed plates preserve the symbolism of the orange, though in one of them the orange looks like a twin of the Georgia peach, while another may be anatomically suspect, with a leaf growing out of its rind. All four preserve the obvious: the state’s name and its “Sunshine State” tagline, which should not be confused with the state’s motto. Florida’s motto is the faintly unconstitutional “In God We Trust,” adopted in 1954 as a replacement for the Founders’ favorite, E Pluribus Unum (a Latin tip of the hat to pluralism that translates as from the many, one). The motto does appear on some Florida plates, but it’s not clear whether it will survive the redesign.
The redesign affects only standard plates. The state continues to provide its innumerable specialty and vanity plates.
The redesign is pat of a larger plan to improve the visibility and readability of license plates (especially for cops, red-light spy cameras and automated toll-collection devices), increase the number of characters on a typical plate from six to seven, and reconfigure the way license plates are distributed across the state. The plan entails a degree of privatization that local tax collectors oppose, because it may reduce collectors’ role in handing out license plates. Currently, tax collectors’ offices are the primary point of contact for drivers who want to get or renew a driver’s license and get license plates.