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.
South Carolina has agreed to drop its requirement that people registering to vote disclose their full Social Security number, Democratic campaign leaders announced Tuesday.
They hailed the agreement — in response to a lawsuit filed by the state's Democratic Party and the party's Senate and House campaign arms — as one of the most important victories yet for one of their major 2020 strategies: filing voting rights lawsuits in many competitive states, hoping the courts will strike down an array of election regulations in time to help boost the party's turnout this fall.
"This is a massive early win," said Rep. Cheri Bustos of Illinois, chairwoman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
Another day, another legal challenge in yet another part of the country alleging the rules make it too hard for people to vote.
This time the place is South Carolina and the issue is an unusual requirement that people registering to vote provide their complete Social Security numbers on their applications.
The state Democratic Party and two national party groups that promote congressional candidates filed the federal lawsuit Monday. If they succeed, the ruling could also upend registration procedures in the run-up to the presidential election in the four other states where a Social Security number is mandated: Tennessee, Virginia, New Mexico and Kentucky.
Hill is director of operations for Take Back our Republic, which advocates for returning political power to individuals.
In the 2020 race for president, South Carolina will, once again, be the place that narrows the field from survivors – those who can simply carry on from Iowa and New Hampshire – to real competitors capable of running national campaigns for their party's nomination.
However, with the ever-expanding race on the Democratic side, the feel could be significantly different than even the massive 2016 Republican field. With the number of candidates likely to reach at least the mid-twenties, South Carolina Democrats will see far more survivors reach their state than the six their Republican counterparts saw in 2016.
And this is where the problems seen in the Palmetto State could shape the debate for the entire country.