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Out with the old: Ga. votes for new plates

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POSTED: July 2, 2011 7:00 a.m.
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Georgia’s old license plate design soon will be replaced.

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The Georgia license plate is getting a makeover, but officials want some help from residents to get the process started.

Eight proposed tag designs were chosen out of more than 500 submissions. Georgians are asked to vote for their favorite design online at the Department of Revenue’s website before July 8, when the top three will be sent to Gov. Nathan Deal for a final decision.

“The last design we really did was 1993,” said Tim Mitchell, the director of the Georgia Department of Revenue’s Office of Tax Policy. “There are approximately 2 million tags more than 7 years old ... They’re starting to become hard for law enforcement to read.”

According to state law, the license plates must reflect light and promote Georgia as the peach state. Designs show license plate numbers, counties or “In God We Trust” only as placeholder examples, said Reg Lansberry, a tax policy analyst in the Georgia Department of Revenue’s Office of Tax Policy.

“We had folks submit hand drawings,” Mitchell said. “We even had some kids from a fourth-grade class.”

He would not comment on which of the eight designs was in the lead, but said as of 6 p.m. Monday, more than 100,000 votes had been cast. Residents can vote more than once.

The new design will be featured on tags as the state begins a complete replating, using a digital license plate. The digital plates are flat so the entire surface can be used.

The transition to digital license plates begins in November, Mitchell said. It will take about five years for the replating.

Vanity plates and specialty plates also will be transitioned to the digital tag, as will tags for motorcycles and trailers, he said.
The exact methods for the change have not been decided.

Whether the smaller motorcycle tags will feature the new design has yet to be determined, Mitchell said.

The digital plates also will be cheaper to manufacture, package and ship, Mitchell said.

However, because the tag price is set by the state legislature, Georgia residents probably will not see a decrease in what they pay.

In other words, once someone chooses a car at a dealership, he or she will apply for a tag and title on location.

“It’s done with the consumer in mind. You don’t have to go to the county office,” Mitchell said. “Once you drive off the lot, you’re done.”

 

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