There’s an online tool on the Illinois Secretary of State’s website that allows you to type in a term or a word, to see if you can put it on a customized Illinois license plate. If you type in “WMAQ 5,” for example, the state’s “Pick-A-Plate” site tells you, “Congratulations! WMAQ 5 is available,” and it shows how to order the plate.
But if you type in “COVID” or “ZAMBONE” or “DORK,” the site will reject you, because those are three of the thousands of terms on the office’s “Special Plates Inhibit List,” which currently runs 22 pages long and contains 7,445 custom license plates that the state bans from Illinois vehicles.
NBC5 Investigates obtained the state’s updated list, which contains all kinds of words and letter-combinations that violate our station’s standards. We’re allowed to post the original list here, but be warned that you may find 99 percent of these terms objectionable or even obscene.
It’s a standard practice in most states to vet people’s choices for license plates, and Illinois has been keeping this list for years. “We love the creativity and pride Illinoisans take in choosing their personalized license plates,” Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias said in a recent statement, “….but a small percentage fail to meet the standards of good taste and decency and are rejected because they violate the state’s vehicle code.”
The office even offers this link, where anyone can report a license plate they consider offensive. Those plates are referred to a small panel in the office’s Vehicle Services Department. Among the plates the panel most recently rejected: DUCKYOU, BITEU, HAIILNO and KISSASH.
Despite the thousands of rejected terms, the Secretary of State’s office says that – over the years — it has issued more than 922,000 vanity or personalized plates to Illinois drivers.
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May 14, 2023 at 12:04PM