Quiz: Which of these license plates is banned?

You are almost certainly aware that there are certain things that your state will not let you put on a vanity license plate. You may not be aware, however, that people in your state have probably tried to get license plates with those words on them anyway.


MuckRock, an organization that facilitates Freedom of Information Act requests, has begun a campaign to uncover what license plate requests are being rejected. So far, they've requested lists of vetoed plates from 25 states and received three: Virginia, New Jersey, and Texas. (Five states — Nevada, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and Maine — don't keep records.)

Looking at the three states that have turned over their lists, a few things stand out. First, the bureaucrats responsible for approving vanity plates are on to the "replace an O with a 0" strategy. Second, adding a number to the end of a blocked word will not suddenly trick the Department of Motor Vehicles. And, third, basically every word you would expect to have been rejected has, in fact, been rejected.

But there were some fun and puzzling entries, too, and not a few related to politics. We took a number of our favorites and made a quiz out of them. Can you tell the difference between a license plate that was banned and a license plate that we made up?

Prove it, right here.

Philip Bump writes about politics for The Fix. He previously wrote for The Wire, the news blog of The Atlantic magazine. He has contributed to The Daily Beast, The Atlantic, The Daily, and the Huffington Post. Philip is based in New York City.
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Philip Bump · May 29