Des Moines, Iowa — Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds has given the green light to a new “blackout” license plate design.

The “blackout” design has been on the road for a few years. More than 800 Iowans have purchased the specialty license plate for the Dordt College Defenders. It has a black background. The letters and numbers are white. Legislators tucked language creating a new “blackout” license plate — without the reference to Dordt College — in a “multi-subject” bill the governor approved this week. You may recall that in August of 2017, Reynolds spearheaded a public vote on three designs for NEW “standard-issue” state license plates. The chosen design and color scheme have sparked complaints.

Iowans who don’t want the standard-issue license plate can pay extra for specialty plates for their vehicles. As we reported earlier, the DOT plans to start taking orders for the new “blackout” plates on July 1st.

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Original post 6:51 am, May 5, 2019

Des Moines, Iowa — If Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signs the appropriations bill on her desk, one of the other things it will do is create a new specialty license plate, and quite possibly reduce the number of Dordt College Defender plates issued.

Around here, the black background, white text Dordt license plates are mostly used by people who support Dordt College. But word on social media is that due to the plate’s minimalist design, some Iowans are also buying the Dordt plates, then buying a black frame to cover up the reference to the Christian college here in northwest Iowa, giving a sleek look to their vehicle.

The appropriations bill would create a similar plate with a black background and white letters and/or numbers, without reference to Dordt. The legislation refers to it as the “blackout” plate. Daniel Yeh is the manager for vehicle services at the Iowa Department of Transportation.


There is an additional charge for all specialty plates, including this “blackout” version.


According to the DOT, about 800 Dordt College license plates had been issued by last March. It remains to be seen if the number of Dordt plates issued each year will drop if the blackout plates are approved.

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