A day ahead of the New Hampshire primary, college kids are in the center of both the main voting rights fight and concern about confusion at the polls.
The issue is what students from out of state must do in order to vote legally in the first straightforward election of the 2020 Democratic presidential contest. The rules were changed by state law two years ago, with some Republican legislators saying their aim was to make it tougher for young people who grew up outside the Granite State to take part.
But civil rights groups, led by the American Civil Liberties Union, are encouraging every American citizen who's at least 18 years old and wakes up in New Hampshire on Tuesday to head to the polls — potentially causing anger and delays if election judges seek to turn them away.
The first question that will go through the minds of millions of Americans at 8 p.m. Eastern on Tuesday, when the polls close in the New Hampshire primary, will likely be a version of this:
We aren't going to have a repeat of the Iowa caucuses, are we?
This week's historic collapse of the system for reporting those results has thrust the mechanics for conducting the rest of the Democratic presidential contest under a spotlight of national anxiety and skepticism. And a bit of it is already justified, even before the next state votes.
A New Hampshire lawmaker has proposed legislation to establish Jan. 24 as "Granny D Day" to honor the beloved political activist.
A Granite State native, Doris "Granny D" Haddock was known across the country for her dedication to campaign finance reform. She died at age 100 in 2010. Friday would have been her 110th birthday.
In 1999, at the age of 88, Granny D embarked on a 3,200-mile walk from California to Washington, D.C., to bring attention to the need for campaign finance reform. The journey ended with a rally at the Capitol 14 months later.
Along with the candidates and the issues, the 2020 presidential election is also going to be about the voting process itself.
Russian efforts to hack into the voting systems of 2016 have boosted election security to a critical concern this time, prompting states to spend tens of millions buying new equipment, hiring cybersecurity wizards and installing software that warns of intrusions — among numerous other steps. More purchases of hardware, software and expertise are coming in the months ahead.
Whether enough money gets spent, and wisely, won't be known for sure until Nov. 3, 2020 — when the system will be subject to the one test that really matters. And whether the country decides the presidential election result is trustworthy will likely come down to how reliably things work in the relatively small number of states both nominees are contesting.
With 11 months to go, The Fulcrum reviewed information from state elections officials, the National Conference of State Legislatures, the Election Assistance Commission and news reports to get a sense of the election security landscape. Here's the state of play in the 13 states likeliest to be presidential battlegrounds.