Kansans hated their new license plate. They will now vote for a replacement.

Last week, Governor Laura Kelly of Kansas unveiled a new license plate design for the state’s motor vehicles. But after nearly a week of bipartisan criticism from voters and politicians alike, she caved to the disagreement.

Ms. Kelly, a Democrat, announced Tuesday that the new design, which was black, gold and midnight blue, would be retired and state voters would help choose the next design.

“Elected officials should be accountable to their constituents, which is why we’re adjusting the process so Kansans can provide direct input on our state’s next license plates,” she said in a statement.

Ms. Kelly’s announcement he was greeted mostly with relief, as words of gratitude poured in.

The state departments of tourism and revenue put together the proposed license plate, with input from a design firm and law enforcement, said a spokeswoman for Ms. Kelly, who provided feedback and approved the final design. It included a wheat and yellow background with text in black and midnight blue with the phrase “to the stars” – the English translation of part of the state’s Latin motto – at the bottom.

The design was meant to solve a problem with current plates: They are embossed and lose about 50 percent of their reflectivity over five years, making them difficult to read, according to Kansas Department of Revenue.

But despite the practicality of the change, politicians from both parties and other Kansans were quick to voice their disapproval.

“Absolutely not,” state Rep. Brandon Woodard, D- wrote on X.

“I didn’t like the old ones. I already miss them now” another user wrote in response to the governor’s original announcement.

Some Republican politicians pointed to the design’s similarity to New York’s “Empire Gold” license plate and took the moment to suggest Ms. Kelly’s favoritism toward her state. (Ms. Kelly, who was elected governor in 2018, is originally from New York.)

In a letterstate Rep. Nick Hoheisel, a Republican, urged the governor to choose a design “that differs from the proposed New York-style license plate.”

The new plates were due to go into service in March, and drivers were required to purchase them for 50 cents when renewing their vehicle registration. Earlier this year, the state approved nearly $10 million to manufacture the new plates, using leftover pandemic relief funds to cover some of the costs, according to the Associated Press.

In her announcement Tuesday, Ms. Kelly said Kansans will have the opportunity to vote on new designs that comply with guidelines issued by the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators. Details on the voting options and process will be available soon, the governor’s office said.

“I promised to be a bipartisan governor and I think we can all admit — I’ve been able to get Kansans across the political aisle to not like this new license plate,” Ms. Kelly said.

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