DES MOINES, Iowa -- The Iowa Department of Transportation has selected its new license plate design, and officials are glad to be moving on after what turned out be a heated debate.
More than 290,000 votes were cast for the three new license plate the design at the Iowa State Fair, and the City and Country reboot design took first place. The director for the Department of Transportation says this year's design caused more of a stir than in years past.
"We expect when you release something like this that out of 3.1 million people, there are going to be some who prefer something different or don't like the options that we have," says Mark Lowe.
Lowe anticipated there to be criticism of the design, but was not prepared for the social media backlash against the department's graphic designers.
"I think it's important to remember that state employees who do these jobs are just like everybody else. They are our friends and neighbors, they've gone to the same schools, they are a part of our community. They are good people trying to do a good job," he said.
Christina Anderson is one of the designers behind what some are calling the "lackluster" new plate. In a social media post, Anderson says people told her the designs were that of a third grader and that she should be fired. In return, she says, "please think about the way you share your opinion. There's a big difference between criticizing an idea or an object and criticizing a person. It's unfair to count me as a human being or my work as worthless based on one project."
Anderson's Facebook post garnered nearly 1,500 shares.
The DOT says it stands behind its employees and their designs, meanwhile condemning cyber bulling. Anderson says, "if nothing else, this experience has taught me to be a kinder person and more aware of the harrowing affect cyber bullying can have on the physical and mental well being of someone."
The newly-approved design is the first plate change since 1998. During that time, the designs were not up for a vote. Officials say it will be another ten years before a new license plate design is considered.
The new design will be available sometime in 2018.