California has incredibly stringent absolutely-no-voter-ID ever laws/policies in place—you may not ask a voter for their ID unless they did not use one to register, and if that is the case, you must accept any of the many, many forms of identification that are authorized and not quibble. Otherwise, no matter what the confusion, you absolutely definitely cannot ask, and indeed if the voter offers it to you you’re supposed to lean over and look at it instead of taking it so that no one behind you in line thinks it’s required. It is your responsibility to ensure that everyone who tries to vote, gets to vote, and in the very specific instances where there’s a potential threat of voter fraud, the absolute most you are allowed to do is ask them to vote provisionally instead.
I live and vote in San Francisco. I’m white/Jewish and I read unambiguously white. I’m also a young woman and I’d worn professional clothes that day, as I was going to pollworker training (which is why I know all this!) I went to vote early at City Hall after that training.
I signed my name slightly different than I had on my voter registration.
I got voter ID’d.
And more than that, when I produced my VALID CALIFORNIA DRIVER’S LICENSE with the INCREDIBLY OBVIOUS PICTURE OF ME ON IT, the pollworker sighed and hemmed and hawed and pointed out that my signature was different from the one on this card, too. I prevented myself from saying “what the fuck,” as I might be working with her on election day, and explained that I continued to be me, both in the photo and on paper. She sighed again and offered to let me vote anyway.
That was it! That was all it took. I’d signed the E different than I usually did. I was the least vulnerable voter in the world at that moment, in a state where this is not only prohibited but fenced around with a million other prohibitions so you should never even get to this point, and I got voter ID’d. This is how prevalent the idea is that we’re in terrible danger of voter fraud and everyone needs to show an ID to prove that they’re the person they say they are. This election is going to come down to stolen and suppressed votes, so if you’re voting, I strongly advise that you come to the polls prepared by the knowledge of the laws in your state. Don’t let them intimidate you.
And if you are voting in San Francisco, just so you know, pollworkers are absolutely required to make sure you’re able to vote by any means necessary, so ask for any accommodation you need—you are legally obligated to get it. Up to and including doing the whole thing from the curb if you can’t get out of the car.