Neb. thwarts license plate prank

LINCOLN, Neb. — Nebraska on Friday threw out thousands of votes — online votes for its new license plate — after discovering that a minimalist approach initially won only because a humor Web site had urged people to choose the most boring design.

Department of Motor Vehicles Director Beverly Neth announced Friday that a white, gold and black plate featuring the state bird and state flower — the western meadowlark and goldenrod — is the actual winner of online voting. The new plates go into use in 2011.

The winner announced Tuesday had been a black-and-white plate with the URL of Nebraska's Web site in red. But those results were skewed by a prank instigated by, which encouraged people to vote for what it deemed to be the most boring design. Gov. Dave Heineman's spokeswoman, Jen Rae Hein, said the black-and-white plate generated 12,510 of the 14,805 votes cast through's link to the Nebraska DMV voting site.

After Neth disqualified the humor site's votes, the bird-and-flower design became the winner with 32,858 votes. The black-and-white plate managed to place second among four entries, less than 5,000 votes behind.

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