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Utah is among the top 10 states per capita to register new voters under the so-called motor-voter act, which went into effect Jan. 1.

According to a press release from a national voter-advocacy group, the Beehive State during the first six months of this year registered 38,986 residents, thanks to the National Voter Registration Act. The law requires states to let citizens register whenever they visit government offices such as driver's license counters, public-assistance agencies and military recruiting centers.The achievement was noted Friday by a consortium of groups that included the League of Women Voters of the United States, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored people, Human SERVE and Disabled and Abled to Vote.

"These states lead the nation. They are putting the pedal to the metal, making the system serve citizens," said League of Women Voters president Becky Cain.

Utah ranked ahead of 40 other states in the proportion of its voting-age population that signed up under the motor-voter act. Others in the top 10 were Colorado, Alaska, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Maine, Missouri, Nebraska and Oklahoma.

Utah, which traditionally has one of the highest voter turnouts in the country, already enjoyed a relatively high voter-registration rate of 78.8 percent of the voting-age population. That's fourth in the country, according to Friday's news release, behind South Dakota, Maine and Mississippi.

The National Voter Registration Act has been controversial in some quarters, triggering challenges in a handful of states where governors contend it is an illegal mandate.