Well, in New York, voters don’t have cards (they used to, but even then they weren’t required if you wanted to vote) in their possession.
The Board of Elections used to have a card for each voter; now it’s a computer printout. The card had your signature at the top; the computer printout prints that out. You are asked to sign your name. If the signatures match, then all is fine. It there’s a challenge (I’ve never seen one), then you can use any ID with your signature.
Works pretty well.
Republicans have taken potential voter fraud – something that is just not happening except for a handful of cases – as a way to disenfrancise voters. It’s especially strong this year, when new voters tend Democratic. New voters names, for instance, are checked against another database, like diver’s licenses. Some of this has been computerized, which can disenfranchise voters very easily.
For instance, consider the names James A. Smith and James A Smith, both of the same address. A computer might say the two names don’t match because one database has a period and the other does not. It might reject a person listed as living on 14th Street because the license says Fourteenth Street or 14th St. This sort of fuzzy logic has to be progammed, and it’s much easier to just insist the two things match exactly, especially if its a Republican County. They don’t mind disenfranchising a few Republicans, since they are disenfranchising many more Democrats.
There are also cases where, say, a felon is removed from the rolls (required in many states) and people with the same name are also removed. Tom Williams gets convicted and everyone named “Tom Williams” in his area are also removed. There are, BTW, far more documented cases of this happening than any actual voter fraud.
On less shaky legal ground is the fact that Republicans are double checking Democratic voters to make sure they haven’t moved. That’s a legitimate concern, but they are focusing on people who move November 1 – to late to register in their new location. Usually, they can still vote in their old district, and this is fraud in only the most expansive sense; they are, after all, only voting once and for the same cadidates that they would have without the move. Generally, election boards don’t push the issue, but the Republicans, since they’re behind in the polls, need to eliminate any Democratic votes they can.