It’s election day, arguably the most important election of my voting life. I’m going to be updating this post in the course of the day.

7:05 a.m.

We’re in line to vote. Lucky for us, the polling place is just in our the back of the first floor of our residence hall. Things are a little bit more chaotic this year than in the past, and when we get there, we hear raised voices complaining about the way the line is being run. Three different districts are voting in our building, and the poll coordinator isn’t sure whether to have there lines or one, and if there is one, at which point to divide it into three . . . The workers at the table haven’t gotten their system down either: there are two different sign-in books, and they’re passing it around rather assigning one to each of the two people there to check in names.

Behind us, a middle-aged African American woman is there with a boy whom I presume to be her grandson. He’s about 15, and he’s still half-asleep. But he’s being good-natured. At one point, the grandma cups his face in her hands and says, voice breaking a little, “Honey, we’re making history today.”

Some of the undergrads in line are hoping to get “I’ve Voted” stickers, but they’re going to be disappointed.

7:40 a.m.

Our neighbor, who teaches Early Childhood Ed at NYU’s Steinhardt School, comes out shaking her head. She tells us that we’re seeing the fruits of our educational system in the way that the polling place is working, a case study in problems of literacy and organization.

7:52 a.m.

My younger son is in the 1960s-era voting booth with me, and he helps me pull the lever for Barack Obama. We pull the red lever back to record the vote. We have just made history, voting for an African American man for the presidency of the United States.

There’s definitely a buzz in the air that I haven’t seen in past elections.

8:15 a.m.

So apparently Dixville Notch, New Hampshire, which is traditionally the first place to vote in the country, opening its polls at 12:01 a.m. on election day, has voted to elect Barack Obama, 15-6. (The town has 75 residents and 21 registered voters). Nate writes that Dixville Notch is never regarded as a predictor of anything, but it has gone Republican in several recent presidential elections: 1992, 1996, 2000, and 2004. But, as Nate points out,  “you’d rather be up 15-6 than down, wouldn’t you?”

4:30 p.m.

Off to pick up my younger son and a bottle of Veuve Cliquot. My wife, via text message, is willing to admit that we might need a bottle of champagne later tonight.

7:03 p.m.

Polls have closed in several states, and Kentucky has been called for McCain, Vermont for Obama. No surprises here. No calls yet for Indiana, Georgia, Virginia, South Carolina. McCain currently slightly ahead in Indiana … whoops, Mark Warner has been predicted to win in Virginia, a Democratic pickup. A very good sign!

7:13 p.m.

Obama up 50-49% in Indiana with 7% reporting. My mother-in-law must be psyched. She lives in Lafayette, has been a diehard Obama supporter from the moment he became a national politician, and has been been canvassing for Obama all fall. She’s currently somewhere outside Grant Park in Chicago.

8:20 p.m.

I’ve been explaining how the elections work — voting, electoral college, polling, predictions, calling states — to my older son all evening, and he’s become very invested in the whole thing. He.s watching the returns as if it were a sporting event and is protesting mightily that he has to go to bed before the polls close in New York.

After the 8:00 p.m. closings, the projected electoral count on CNN is Obama 77, McCain 34, with no upsets yet. But as they break down the numbers in Indiana and Florida, it seems that McCain is doing worse than Bush did four years ago almost across the board. More good signs for Obama.

8:27 p.m.

CNN is being conservative, but MSNBC has called both Pennsylvania and New Hampshire for Obama, giving him 103. Over at fivethirtyeight, Nate says that the speed with which the AP called New Hampshire is “the best evidence yet that Obama is about to become the next president.”

8:40 p.m.

CNN is now calling Pennsylvania for Obama. Holding onto the state is huge for Obama, because McCain spent a lot of time and money trying to turn it red. I can feel the momentum building … There’s a huge cheering crowd over in Times Square watching CNN’s coverage on a big screen …

On the other hand, Obama hasn’t flipped a red state yet …

9:00 p.m.

More poll closings: New Yrok, Rhode Island, Wisconsin, Michigan — and Minnesota to Obama! Go Al Franken! Meanwhile, my wife tells me that my mother-in-law has been an Obanma supporter since he was a state senator. CNN’s count: Obama 174, McCain 49. But still no red state flipped.

9:11 p.m.

Sitting downstairs now in the Commons of our residence hall, where the mood is boisterous. The pizza that arrived at 8:00 p.m. was devoured in five minutes, I’m told.

9:34 p.m.

A huge cheer here as CNN ()which is what we have up on the big screen here) calls Ohio for Obama. MSNBC had called it earlier, and now they’re calling New Mexico.Looking at the electoral map before Ohio was called, my neighbor, the philosopher from Hofstra, said, “It’s like Monopoly: houses are fine, but I want a hotel!” A big red hotel that we can paint blue!

9:50 p.m.

Back upstairs. My fellow Faculty Fellows and I have done the math: if CNN’s projections so far are right, which have Obama at 199, then it’s done: California, Oregon, and Washington account for 73, getting Obama to 272, two more than he needs. But that won’t be all, it seems . . .


Iowa! For Obama! I wonder if they know more about some of the states they’re not calling as a courtesy to the Western states. John King of CNN is asking what they (at CNN) do when Obama gets to 270 (presumably soon), and now he’s arguing that how many electoral votes he gets will be important in terms of governing. They’re doing their best to make this seem like a drama. But the handwriting, as they say, is on the wall.

We figure we’ll save the champagne for one more hour , , ,

10:24 p.m.

CNN keeps calling states for McCain — Arkansas, Texas, Mississippi — but they’re also reporting that two “senior McCain aides” so “no path to victory given the results so far.”

They’re right about the final electoral tally and the percentage of the popular vote making a difference. I keep clicking on various online electoral maps to see how the races in Virginia, North Carolina, and Florida are going. I want Obama to run up the score.

Meanwhile, I’m trying to finish preparing for my second lecture on Hamlet , but it’s a late hard to concentrate on the Dane right now. Though it strikes me that there is something Shakespearean about John McCain’s fall from grace this year.

10:59 p.m

Virginia called for Obama! Virginia!

11:00 p.m.

All the polls in the continental USA have closed. CNN is projecting that Barack Obama will be the next president of the United States. I can hear screaming outside my windows, screams of joy! The wife is weeping.

I have a new title for my book: Joy in Mudville! Baseball and Politics from Bush to Barack.

11:20 p.m.

McCain is giving a very gracious concession speech. Maybe David Brooks is right about the “real” John McCain; too bad we didn’t see him very often during the campaign. If only the Republicans had nominated him in 2000.

11:35 p.m.

We’ve switched to CSPAN. We’ve  tired of the talking heads and just want to see the happy people.

11:35 p.m.

Barack to the world: “A new dawn of American leadership is at hand.”