Request for Proposals: Utah Special "First to Vote" License Plate

Request for Proposal
Special Group License Plate Decal


Design a decal to be put on special group license plates, distributed through the DMV with car registration. The decal will indicate that Utah was the first place in the United States where women voted.


Better Days 2020 is dedicated to popularizing Utah women’s history throughout the state in creative and communal ways. In commemoration of the 150th anniversary of Utah being the first place where women voted, and in commemoration of the centennial of the 19th Amendment, we oversee educational, legislative, and artistic project that shine a light on Utah’s legacy of women’s advocacy. Doing so inspires women and men of Utah to live up to that legacy today.

On February 14, 1870, twenty-five Utah women cast ballots at the Council Hall Building (now located across from the state capitol) in a municipal election. Although Wyoming’s legislature had granted that state’s women the right to vote the month before Utah’s, Utah was the first place to hold an election in which women actually cast ballots. That election made Utah the first place where women legally voted in the modern nation.

The 150th anniversary of that first vote is approaching in 2020. That year is also  the centennial of the 19th Amendment, which granted women the right to vote throughout the country. We believe that these anniversaries provide an opportunity for Utah to examine its legacy of women’s advocacy and how we can honor it better today. It also provides an opportunity once again–in the 21st century as in the 19th century–for Utah to lead the nation in supporting women’s advancement.

During this past legislative session, BD2020 initiated two pieces of legislation which both passed. The first approved a statue of Martha Hughes Cannon (first female state senator in the nation) to be sent to the Washington D.C. Capitol Rotunda in 2020. The second was this special “First to Vote” license plate.


Special Group License Plates are available when you register a new car. The Utah DMV registers over 60,000 vehicles annually and so the opportunity for this design to be seen is incredible. Every Utahn will eventually see this plate out on the roads on other cars.


A Special Group License Plate is a white plate with five characters assigned by DMV. On the left side of the plate a symbol decal is attached. Each symbol is 3 7⁄8” high by 3 1⁄4” wide with up to 5 colors. A “First to Vote” slogan will also be part of the design. The slogan runs across the bottom center of the plate can have up to three colors and is 5⁄8” high by 6 1⁄2” wide.

Inclusion of the year 2020 into the decal design is at the discretion of the designers. It is not mandatory, but it would be nice to see versions of the concepts with 2020 included and without.

The new plate will be rolled out to all DMV locations in Utah by October 2018. People registering cars will have the opportunity to choose the special plate for a one-time fee of $25. (The skier, Delicate Arch and In God We Trust templates are free.) Unlike other special group plates, this plate will not have an annual renewal fee so it will be more attractive than other special group plates. A list of other special group plates can be found here:


The license plate design needs to be representative and iconic. In just a small space we need to convey that Utah was the first place in the nation where women cast ballots. The design must be simple, easily recognizable, and clear. This picture will literally tell a thousand words as it captures visually this historic event.

Because the slogan should say “First to Vote” and not “First Women to Vote” - too long - the design must indicate the female association through the image, not the words. The image must have a female identifying element in it. See also the note above about including the year 2020 into the design.

The colors for the national suffrage movement were purple and yellow. Better Days 2020 represents these colors in its own collateral. Green was a secondary color in the suffrage pallet. These are not the only colors that can be used, but please use historically representative colors or varieties of those colors.

As a point of interest, the Utah State Capitol Building houses this mural, depicting the first election in which women voted, in the Council Hall building, at which Seraph Young cast the first vote.


This plate will be available in DMVs for public purchase in October of 2018. If you are interested in responding to this RFP, please submit sketches to by April 15, 2018.

  • April 15, 2018: Initial sketches delivered to BD2020

  • May 1, 2018: BD2020 responds to submitters. Four finalists selected to submit final versions.

  • May 30, 2018: Four final versions submitted.

  • June 15, 2018: BD2020 communicates selection of one out of the finalists.


Better Days 2020 is a non-profit 501c3 that receives funding from the state legislature and from corporate sponsorships. Because we have a limited budget, this project’s value comes in part from the prestige of claiming a symbol that is seen by all Utahns and carries the weight of our illustrious history.

A $500 stipend will be offered the 4 organizations submitting final proposals. $2000 will be awarded to the firm with the winning design.


Every year the ALPCA awards a license plate design the Best Plate of the Year Award. See Automobile License Plate Collector’s Association for past award winning license plates and iconic designs.


Neylan Mcbaine