License Plate Bingo
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Yesterday was opening day at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines, and as expected, Instagram is already full of photos of people standing next to the butter cow. Hat's off to Senator Chuck Grassley for posting the first one.

It was also when Governor Kim Reynolds unveiled the final three designs for Iowa's new license plates. It's been 21 years since Iowa changed its plate design. Prior to 1996, we simply had single color plates, but then we got fancy with the image of a rural area superimposed onto that of a large city, reflecting the rural/urban blend in the state.

Sort of like the old woman/young woman image we saw in sociology classes...or the other famous one, where some of you saw a vase, and some saw two children's faces.

The final three designs, predictably, have led to people saying they don't like any of them. Not that those criticizing have any better's just anticipated that when three finalists are displayed, people will carp at all of them.

You can vote on which plate you want...and they even have names, as opposed to plate one, two and three.

"The Great Wide Open" has an off-blue stripe at the top, with a scene of rolling hills in a stripe at the bottom with the county name. Some call that the "Grant Wood" plate.

"Flying Our Colors" has the more traditional red-white-and-blue approach, with a navy stripe at the top, a red stripe at the bottom with the county name in a banner, and a hologram of an eagle behind the plate number in the center. Think Iowa's flag.

"City and Country Reboot" is an adaptation of what we currently have, with a city scape and a rural image both in the top stripe...and what to me seems like a lawn that needs to be mowed at the bottom.

In all three, the plate number is prominent, with the idea being a less complicated design makes it easier for law enforcement to see a number. That is why we have the plates, after all.

The new design won't change those who have other specialty plates, like for colleges and universities, or for Iowa's natural resources. But since we really don't make these changes more than once a generation, it carries some importance.

You can vote by going to: This is a link to

No promises that the plate with the most votes will be adopted, however. This is a link to

As of this morning, nearly 150,000 of us have voted since yesterday. And in full disclosure, not surprisingly, my choice is running third of the three.

And that's the Iowa Politics report for Friday, August 11, on twitter and instagram at iowapolitics. Listen to today's segment here:

  • @iowapolitics
    Jeff Stein is a national award-winning broadcaster, with 35 years of experience in Iowa radio and television. He has covered every Iowa presidential caucus since 1980, and has been a featured political analyst on the Fox News Channel, PBS News Hour, and various television and radio stations in Iowa. He also produces and hosts the syndicated "Iowa Almanac" daily feature, and the weekly public affairs program, "The IowaWatch Connection".

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