Jan 25, 2023 - News

Illinois' rejected vanity license plates in 2022

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

The state rejected 383 vanity plate requests last year for violating "good taste," according to the Illinois Secretary of State's Office.

Why it matters: The rejected requests offer a glimpse into local "decency" standards, not to mention the minds of your fellow drivers.

Zoom in: We dug into the 2022 rejected list and found some trends, including applicants' desire to:

  • Use variations on the F-word
  • Criticize the governor
  • Label oneself as the B-word
  • Promote the letter Q
  • Describe sex acts or body parts
  • Call oneself an A-hole o Bad A--
  • Praise Satan

Yes but: Other rejected requests seemed less controversial like BAPTSD, TOFU, DOGBARF, WACKJOB, FARTLEK, THE GOV, FUNKE and DR FUNK.

  • State officials tell us applicants can contest rejections, especially if the request reflects their own name. And that happens a few times a year.
  • So Dr. Funk, now's your chance.

By the numbers: Less than 1% of last year's roughly 54,200 custom plates requests were rejected.

  • This year's list of 383 names joins 7,387 on the banned list.
  • The state rejected 572 in 2021 and 499 in 2020. Maybe the pandemic gave us a little too much free time.

What they're saying: "We love the creativity and pride Illinoisans take in choosing their personalized license plates," Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias tells Axios, noting that only a tiny fraction are rejected.

Bonus: Many of the rejected names are NSFW or even for this newsletter, but we've posted a few pages of them on our Instagram for informational purposes.

  • Warning: You may start looking at the folks in the DMV line differently after reading.

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