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Florida's new license plate design announced

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Published Dec. 19, 2012

TALLAHASSEE — Unlike presidential races in Florida, the counting of votes for the next state license plate ended on time Friday with — so far, at least — no threat of a recount.

Out of 50,124 votes cast during a three-week online contest, the winning plate won by a scant 566 votes, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles announced Tuesday. Stamped with fluorescent green bars at the bottom and top and a bright orange serving as the "O" in Florida, the victor is certainly more colorful than the state's current plate.

The design has seven characters instead of the current six to keep Florida from running out of character combinations. But gone are two trademarks: the shape of Florida and the oranges in the middle of the plate.

If approved by Gov. Rick Scott and the Cabinet, the plate will be the newest accessory on the state's 15 million vehicles starting in 2014. The contest was part of a $31 million makeover of the plate to make it more readable.

This being Florida, of course there is controversy with the results.

Kevin Cate, who owns a Tallahassee public relations firm, found the plates so distasteful he offered a design, which the highway safety department rejected.

"There's no winner of the choices the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles have provided to the people of Florida," he said. "Nobody wins with the new tags."

But Hillsborough County Tax Collector Doug Belden said the design looks good.

"I have no problem with the public picking colors and font styles," he said. "It's very positive to get input from the motorists of Florida."

Brittany Alana Davis can be reached at or (850) 323-0353.