DMV taking votes on new plate

Karen Nelson of Gilbert works as a designer for Eagle Aviation.

But her latest design could grace the bumpers of all S.C. drivers' cars if residents vote for her creation to replace the "Smiling Faces, Beautiful Places" palmetto tree license plate.

Nelson's is one of three designs South Carolinians can choose from until July 27 at the Department of Motor Vehicles Web site. The other two designs are by Tom Crosby of Darlington and Matthew Kamann of Mount Pleasant. Got to the site at www.scdmv online.com/DMVNew/default.aspx and click on the link to vote.

Nelson's design features the state flag in the upper left corner.

"I wanted to do something that was different than what has been done over the past several years," she said.

Crosby's design incorporates the state's landscape from the coast to the mountains.

Kamann's includes a sunset along the horizon.

The finalists' designs were chosen by a panel of judges and reflect and promote the quality of life in South Carolina.

This is the first time the department asked the public to submit designs for the state license plate.

"We knew that other states had done similar contests, and we thought citizens would enjoy participating in the process," said DMV officials.

The current license plate replaced the Carolina wren plate.

The new design will be announced Aug. 1 and be available beginning in July 2008.