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NY asks residents to pick a new license plate

Locals have strong opinions as state officials let public vote on design

August 23, 2019
By the News staff ( , Lake Placid News

A decade after New York state released gold license plates with blue lettering for motor vehicles, the state has opened up voting for the state's next design - and local residents have some strong opinions about the options they've been offered.

New Yorkers can chose from five designs on the state Department of Motor Vehicles website. Polls opened Monday and will remain open until Sept. 2.

The design that receives the most votes will replace aging empire blue and white plates, most of which are older than 10 years, as well as the empire gold plates.

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Plates with the new design will become available in April 2020 through a plate replacement program. Customers with plates that are at least 10 years old will receive new ones when they renew their vehicle registrations over the next two years. The $25 license plate replacement fee will be added to the cost of the vehicle owner's registration renewal, and residents can pay another $20 to keep their existing license plate numbers.

All five designs contain iconic elements from New York City, with four bearing the Statue of Liberty or her torch. The other plate has a grayscale image of the Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge that spans the Hudson River north of Yonkers. The other four also all bear the state motto, "Excelsior," a Latin word that translates as "Ever Upward."

Plate option No. 5 includes some elements from the rest of New York, too. In the bottom left corner, a frozen Niagara Falls flows into the water, with a few Adirondack peaks snuck in the background.

Initial response from Facebook comments on the Adirondack Daily Enterprise's post about this vote was not positive. Most pointed out that the icons highlighted on the plates are mostly centered on the city and do not represent the whole state.

"So, downstate representation is our only option...?" Heather Clark of Lake Placid wrote.

There was not consensus on the quality of the current plates; some suggested keeping the current gold and blue style and others welcomed a change, calling the current plates "ugly."

Not everyone was happy with the new plate designs, though.

"They are all UGLY," Heidi Schuller of Tupper Lake wrote.

Some commenters griped that changing plate designs wastes taxpayer dollars and that it was going to cost taxpayers more when they have to pay to replace their plates.

Melissa Mitchell requested, "One the paint won(')t peel off."

When the paint started peeling off hundreds of New York residents' plates, it caused trouble for them with the police, who could not read them. It has been previously reported that those plates came from a "bad batch" and that most of the affected plates start with the letter "F."

"Seems like a missed opportunity to include the 'I Love NY' brand," wrote Daniel Cash of Lake Placid.

New York was the first state to require residents to register motor vehicles in 1901, according to, a website that keeps a historical record of license plates. Vehicle owners provided their own license plates for display with their initials until 1903, and then added numbers until the state first issued plates in 1910.

Anyone interested in voting for a new design can do so by visiting



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