Editor's note: Contact7 seeks out audience tips and feedback to help people in need, resolve problems and hold the powerful accountable. If you know of a community need our call center could address, or have a story idea for our investigative team to pursue, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (720) 462-7777. Find more Contact7 stories here.
CENTENNIAL, Colo. — A Centennial man said when he tried to order a personalized license plate reading AMERICA, the state’s DMV system rejected it, calling it “offensive.”
Kevin Helwig went through the process of ordering his plates online, only to receive a message that read “This plate personalization has been flagged as offensive in the system.”
“I was so upset and so disgusted,” he told Contact 7. “I love our country, and that’s why I wanted to put that on my license plate.”
Helwig says he wasn’t trying to send a political message. His dad was in the military and has other family members currently serving.
“I have no idea why that would be considered offensive,” he said.
The Colorado Division of Motor Vehicles, like all states, has certain plates it won’t allow. Those include curse words, suggestive themes, and more.
Contact7 called the DMV to clear up the issue. A spokesperson said the “America” plate was reserved for auction to benefit the Colorado Disability Funding Committee, which assists the disability community throughout the state.
They went on to say, “Unfortunately, the personalized plate request system showed the incorrect unavailability message. We are working to replace that message with more accurate wording.”
The Disability Funding Committee says they obtained the rights to the plate after it was unclaimed in the DMV system for more than a year. They are organizing to hold their first auction before the end of the year, and it’s possible the “America” plate could be a part of that auction. Those details are still being worked out.