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Some Illinois license plate requests land on the 2023 'naughty list'

An Illinois license plate with the word "VANITY" in red.
Office of the Illinois Secretary of State
More than 300 vanity license plates were rejected by the Illinois Secretary of State's Office due to profanity, offensive language or illegibility.

Apologies to our Iowa neighbors, but the Illinois Secretary of State has your back. A request for a license plate that read "IOWASUX" was just one that was rejected this year.

Illinois Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias rejected hundreds of vanity and personalized license plates this year that were deemed too obscene or defamatory.

The Illinois Secretary of State’s office received 54,768 requests for vanity and personalized plates this year, according to a new release. Of those, 304 were rejected.

The Secretary of State’s Office oversees the process by which Illinoisans may request specific vanity or personalized license plates for their vehicles. A small team of employees reviews each request.

Most of the rejected plates contained some sort of profanity or crude language. According to the release, requests like XKXKKXK or QOOQQOO, plates were rejected this year because they are difficult to read and could pose problems for law enforcement.

The Secretary of State’s office maintains an ever-growing rejection list, which currently stands at more than 7,674 license plate combinations deemed offensive or difficult to read.
Illinois vehicle owners pay an extra $94 for a new vanity plate, which contains all letters. They pay an extra $47 for a new personalized plate, which is a combination of letters and numbers.

Currently, there are a total of 811,351 vehicles registered in Illinois with vanity or personalized license plates to Illinoisans. Of those, 279,500 are vanity plates and 531,851 of the plates are personalized plates.

Jenna Dooley is the News Director at Northern Public Radio in Dekalb, Illinois.