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AUSTIN, Texas (LifeSiteNews) – Republican Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas signed a sweeping election integrity law on Tuesday, ending a months-long battle against Democratic lawmakers seeking to block the bill’s passage.

Senate Bill 1 requires that voters casting mail-in ballots provide some form of identification, from a driver’s license to a bank statement. The bill also bans 24-hour voting, imposes restrictions on drive-thru voting and ballot harvesting, and prohibits election officials from sending unsolicited mail-in ballot applications, as happened in major Texas cities such as Houston during the 2020 election. Ballot harvesting and unsolicited ballot applications can lead to felony charges and jail time under the law.

Other provisions in S.B. 1, titled the Election Integrity Protection Act of 2021, include monthly voter roll checks and new protections for poll watchers, including the right to observe transfers of election materials and the closing of polling places, according to Fox News.

“Senate Bill 1 creates uniform statewide voting hours, maintains and expands voting access for registered voters that need assistance, prohibits drive-through voting, and enhances transparency by authorizing poll watchers to observe more aspects of the election process,” read a statement from Gov. Abbott’s office on Tuesday.

“Election integrity is now law in the state of Texas,” Abbott said at a bill-signing ceremony for S.B. 1 in Tyler yesterday. “One thing that all Texas can agree and that is that we must have trust and confidence in our elections.”

“One area that makes it harder to cheat concerns mail-in ballots,” Abbott added. “This is an area where both Democrats and Republicans agree has been the easiest way to cheat in the election process. The law that I’m about to sign fixes that problem.”

The Texas legislature last week passed S.B. 1 during the second special legislative session that Abbott called this year, following months of roadblocks by Democrats.

Dozens of Texas House Democrats had fled the state in June to prevent passage of the election bill during Abbott’s first special session, before returning in August after apparently infecting each other and White House and congressional staffers with COVID. The lawmakers had killed a similar bill by staging walkout in May, prompting Abbott to defund the legislature.

Texas joins at least 17 other states, including Florida, Georgia, and Arizona, that have adopted new election integrity measures in recent weeks.

Democrats sued to stop S.B. 1 almost immediately after Abbott signed it, with a lawsuit led by Democratic activist lawyer Marc Elias and filed on behalf of left-wing advocacy groups and other organizations. The challenge faces little chance of long-term success, however. In July, the Supreme Court shot down a similar suit brought by Elias against a ballot harvesting ban in Arizona, ruling that prevention of voter fraud is a “strong and entirely legitimate state interest.”

S.B. 1 comes in response to significant election issues reported in the 2020 election, especially in connection to widespread mail-in voting.

“We have more voter fraud cases than we have ever had. That’s just a fact,” Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said earlier this year. “In my office we have over 500 cases waiting to go to trial. We have other investigations, over 300.”

The enactment of the S.B. 1 also comes just days after the Texas Heartbeat Act took effect, banning virtually all abortions in the Lone Star state after six weeks of pregnancy.

Other bills passed by the Texas legislature last week and currently on Gov. Abbott’s desk would outlaw distribution of abortion pills to women more than seven weeks’ pregnant and would further restrict the teaching of critical race theory, which Texas limited in June.

The governor on Tuesday called a third special legislative session to address COVID vaccine mandates by state or local governments and biological males competing in women’s college sports. The session will not cover mutilating transgender procedures for children, school mask mandates, or vaccine mandates by private businesses, according to an agenda released by Abbott.