There's less than a week to go before the polls start closing. It's time to start planning for Election Day. I know that many out there lead wildly different lives than I do, and what's the best for me is not necessarily even good for anyone else, but I think that I've done this enough times in the past to be able to give some general advice on the subject, so here goes...
1. Take a personal day
I've never been able to find out exactly why elections are held on Tuesday. I know that back in the days before modern technology, November was after the harvest and nobody had much to do, but Tuesday is in the middle of the week and everyone who's not unemployed should be earning some bread. However, this is important, and once upon a time was an actual holiday. If you cannot get the whole day off, see if you can get the afternoon off, if you can't do that, call in dead. If your boss doesn't believe in the doctrine of resurrection, then you're stuck. If you're stuck and you have access to the internet, you should...
2. Check the Drudge Report and Fox News frequently after 1 PM
I know that most people here don't like either Drudge or Fox, but there is method to this madness...early exit poll results. Being the slimeball that he is, God bless him, since he first opened up in 1996, Drudge has put up the horserace numbers from the exit polls almost as soon as he gets them. This despite the famous embargo. Drudge has never disappointed in this regard. As to Fox, this is a bit trickier. As the exit polls have an embargo attached to them, the pundits have to be genuinely dishonest and pretend that they don't know what's in them. But they will indeed give hints: If Hannity and the Beltway Boys seem depressed and go on about how the Republican party must work harder to effect a comeback in 2010 and who might be in the running for 2012, then you know what's going to happen. If they are unusually jaunty, like they were the week after the Republican convention, then that's a clue as well.
3. Find out where the parties are. Both sides.
Why both sides? Well, eight times out of ten, the Republicans have an open bar and eight times out of ten, the Democrats don't. If it looks like a landslide, nobody's going to be at the McCain parties, and you can get a few beers or cocktails before trying to get into the Obama bash, or a friend's house. Remember, if you do this don't look too happy until you leave and don't be mean to the Republicans who have shown up! Also, getting into the Obama bash will be difficult, so if you have to get a ticket in advance, do so.
4. 6 PM: Indiana and Kentucky polls close
Assuming that the polls published in the past few days won't have changed that much. The first state to be called will be Kentucky at six PM. It will go for McCain. That's not going to tell us anything. However, if Indiana is called, that's a different story. If the networks give it immediately to McCain, then it's going to be a very long night, and if they give it immediately to Obama, it won't. Most likely the pundits will punt and say that they can't give it to anyone until the southwest tip of the state closes it's polls at six central time. From here on out, you're on your own.
5. Midnight. If its not over by now, go home
I add this because I remember 1976, when I stayed up until three in the morning to find out if Carter won. I was hung over for three days. 2004 wasn't called until around ten in the morning and 2000 wasn't called until December. Unless you're young and this is your first election, then by all means, pull an all nighter, but it's just as fun toasting your guy with a cup'o joe in the morning as it is with champaign at night.