CLEVELAND — Many Ohioans are getting new license lates and some of them are including creative names and catchphrases. However, not all the ideas for personal plates get accepted.
The Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles sorts through hundreds of applications for vanity plates every year. The agency just released its list of the requests that didn’t make the cut.
“We have over a half million vanity plates in the state of Ohio. So, we're really talking about, you know, a fraction of a percent that get rejected,” said Charlie Norman, deputy registrar for the Bureau of Motor Vehicles. “The criteria for approval or denial are, really, they're set forth in a consent decree.
In 2021, the BMV rejected more than 800 submissions for vanity plates. That number is up 79% compared to 2020, which had roughly 400 rejections.
“We're generally looking for things that are profane, sexually explicit or advocate lawlessness,” Norman said.
Drivers can get a vanity plate by applying online or in person. The cost is $50.
The BMV has four employees who are dedicated to sorting through all of the applications looking for certain violations. Last year, nearly 50 denied requests included swear words involving President Joe Biden.
“I often look at this report that I get, and I wonder, ‘would I want my grandma to see me driving with that on my license plate?’ But that's not my role, you know, and that's not one of the criteria we use,” Norman said.
The BMV also started keeping an eye out for the phrase “Let’s Go Brandon,” which is another insult phrase that has become popular in recent months.
Biden isn’t the only target. Other denied plate submissions have taken aim at Vice President Kamala Harris, Dr. Anthony Fauci and even Carole Baskin from the Netflix series “Tiger King.”
“I’m just I'm continually impressed with how clever people are levels when using, you know, fours, fives, and spelling things backwards. And it's a lot of a lot of thought goes into some of these requests,” Norman said.
Most of the requests that get denied fall into the vulgar or poor taste category. If you feel you’ve been unfairly denied you can fight it.
Warning: Some of the rejected license plates contain vulgar language. Click here to see the full list.
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