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License Plates

This photo shows the new South Dakota license plate design for 2016.

 South Dakota's new license plate is drawing complaints.

The plate that the state started issuing Jan. 1 is similar to the old Mount Rushmore plate design, but with different coloring. Some drivers say the beige and blue plates are too dark and look dirty, and some say the faces of the four sculpted presidents on Mount Rushmore aren't positioned at the right angles, the Argus Leader reported. 

"I hate them," said Kay Nelson, a 64-year-old Sioux Falls resident who lived in Keystone in the western Black Hills for years and worked at a hotel with a clear view of the national memorial. "They're disgusting."

Minnehaha County Treasurer Pam Nelson once was stopped at a store by a man who wanted to complain about the new design.

"So far, I've heard nothing positive," she said.

The new plates are the result of a collaborative effort between the governor's office, the Tourism Department, the Revenue Department and South Dakota law enforcement, said Jonathan Harms, a spokesman for the Revenue Department. He declined to say who designed the Rushmore image.

Blaine Kortemeyer, assistant chief of interpretation at Mount Rushmore, said the plates are different but not a misrepresentation of the memorial. He prefers the new design over the old.

"The new plate just has a different viewpoint," he said.

The state is paying a California-based company nearly $17 million to produce the plates for the next five years.

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