Reader Rahul Sharma writes in from Illinois:
I'm in Barack Obama's home state means the presidential election is a no-contest. However, interestingly the place where I live and work, which is referred to as the NW suburbs of Chicago, leans a bit Republican.
The only presidential yard signs that I have seen are for John McCain/Sarah Palin. But Obama wins by a landslide in car stickers, and also in the malls it is common to see people wearing Obama T-shirts.
The Americans that I work with were mostly Republican until the financial crisis hit. The financial meltdown has decimated people's 401k savings. Now, either they are leaning Obama or are too demoralised to vote.
Another interesting thing that I noticed was the interest amongst kids. My eight-year-old and his friends are big Obama fans. These kids are even able to give a spin on the candidate's position on war and taxes. My friend told me an amazing story of his 5-year-old nephew in Germany, who in a phone call asked my friend to vote for Obama.
Today is a big evening in Chicago -- an election rally is being planned in Grant Park. My company also has an office in downtown Chicago, and we've been told that our downtown office would close early so that they can avoid the crowd coming in.
Many people in my office are planning to go downtown to witness this historic event. I am almost tempted to go; however, I am a bit allergic to crowds.
If Obama wins, this night in Chicago is going to be as memorable as that night in Berlin when the Wall fell.
Madhusudan Katti, Assistant Professor of Biology, California State University, Fresno:
Before I turn in for what remains of this night, before this country hopefully begins awakening from the nightmare of the past eight years, let me share some experiences from my classroom.
Most students on our campus tend to be apathetic, so it is hardly a surprise when many of them have blank faces when I make any tangential connections to current events.
But this election cycle, things seem to be different. One index I've found has to do with the New York Times. For the past couple of years, the NYT has been available on our campus for free, along with USA Today and the Fresno Bee. Until recently, the Bee would be the first to go from the stacks of the three papers scattered across campus -- and I'd have to urge my students to pick up the NYT at least on Tuesdays when it has the excellent Science Times section.
But for the past month or so, I've found it difficult to get my hands on a copy of the NYT! Where they used to remain in their bins until late in the evening, now they are gone by mid-morning. Surely this is a sign of an engaged youth, no?
I've had students engage in voter registration and other GOTV activities in my classroom, and have offered to let them off class tomorrow (isn't it unbelievable that in this democracy, they still won't make election day a holiday so everyone can go vote?) to go vote or participate in the process in other ways.
I had to remind the class today that their participation in this election will surely be more significant than my lectures!