I voted early, and magnificently. The instructions said to use a pencil to fill in the little circle next to the preferred candidate. Voting is one of the few things a person does in the modern era that involves a pencil. My pencilwork has gotten iffy over the years, so I really took my time, and made sure my mark was not only unambiguous (the circle completely filled in with minimal over-the-perimeter smudging) but attractive and almost artistic — the kind of circle-filling that other voters, were they to peer over my shoulder, would admire and envy.

I wanted to show my ballot around the rec center and point out how its supposed to be done. The whole “secret ballot” thing is optional, right? What’s the point of voting if no one else gets to see how you owned the process?

I’m now out in the Virginia suburbs, indeed am in Prince William County, which Mike Allen at Politico says is basically the bellwether for the entire country. Prince William and Loudoun. Thus I’m interviewing voters again, which is hard for me, because I’m ready for it to be over, and am fantasizing about all the things I'm going to do in the next chapter of my life, number one of which is Not Think About Politics. Will read no polls. May get offline altogether, and just chop wood and forage for nuts and hunt for wild game using a crossbow or maybe a slingshot. I’ll get a new hobby, in other words. Become the kind of guy who often dresses in camouflage. Not the kind who types up blog items in a Subway sandwich shop in Haymarket.

I probably need to file something to the Live Blog based on what I’ve learned this morning. The upshot is that we’re a very divided country. But even so, several people I talked to expressed hope that, when this is all over, our political leaders can come together, reaching across party lines to get something accomplished.

But I’m not sure anyone thinks this is actually very likely.

[more to come...]