6:33 AM I'm back home now and wearing a sticker they gave me that says, "I voted." I can't remember ever feeling so positive about voting as I do right now. If you haven't voted yet, stop reading this blog and go vote.

 

6:17 AM As we walk back home, Mark notes that someone tore up the Bush-Cheney sign in our yard overnight.

 

6:10 AM The election worker took my ballot and inserted into some kind of machine that flashes a bright red number that shows I'm the second person to actually complete a ballot in my precinct. Mark is the third. Since we voted the same way, I can say with confidence that as of this moment, George Bush and Alan Keyes are leading in our precinct.

 

6:09 AM I'm done. I vote, and then with Florida 2000 in mind, check the back of my ballot for any hanging chads. There are none. I check the holes to make sure I voted for the right people. I basically voted for President, Senator, US Representative, and a few people on the second page. I skipped all the judges except the first one. He was a Democrat named Patrick Murphy. I think I've heard of him somewhere.

 

6:05 AM I am now the fourth person in line. The first man gives his last name to the election official who checks it in a massive book with a tear-out page for each registered voter in the precinct. A bit of uncertainty about what to do because he's the first voter of the day. At one point he says, "Oops!" then passes the page to the next person. Then they had the man a ballot. When my time comes, they check through the massive book and I see all five Pritchards have a page each--me, Marlene, Josh, Mark, Nick. Josh voted in China at the embassy in Beijing two weeks ago. He said they had to wait in line a long time.

 

5:55 AM My son Mark is up and ready to go vote. Never voted with one of my sons before. A neat experience. The polling place is the Lutheran Church behind our house. We got there about five minutes before six. Two people were already there. A little friendly chatter. Two other women came up about 6 AM. The sun isn't up yet, but the rain stopped a few hours ago. It's going to be a nice day in Chicago. At 6:01 AM there are six people waiting for the doors to open. Two men come up the stairs from the polling site in the church basement. The man in front of us says, "I hear the pitter-patter of democracy." The door opens and one of the two election workers says, "The polling place will be open as soon as we put the American flag in place and unlock the door." It takes a few seconds to do both, as both men fumble in the darkness, their task made harder because they know we are watching them.

 

5:25 AM Got and debated whether to vote early or later today. Checked Real Clear Real Clear Politics again and saw the newest numbers--slightly in Bush's favor. Decided to vote early. Maybe we can start a tidal wave in Oak Park.

 

3:44 AM Up again. This time checked the Corner at the National Review site. No entries for today yet.

 

12:35 AM Couldn't sleep. Got up and checked the polls on Real Clear Politics one more time. No change from 90 minutes ago.