Election day isn't the end of the political process — it involves retail politicking in its most basic form.
I watched Congressman Lacy Clay drive around Missouri's first district, which covers a big chunk of the city of St. Louis and the outlying suburbs. Clay makes a big point of driving the van that goes around the district, picking up senior citizens who need a ride to the polls. And as he performs this public service, Clay grabs every opportunity to shake hands.
This afternoon he went up and down the four hour long line outside Jennings city hall. Nearly everyone recognizes him, and they remember his father Bill Clay, who represented the district for 32 years, until he retired in 2000. They thank Clay for favors he's done for them over the years — getting them jobs, whatever. If the line is too long, Clay shouts to his helpers to "get some more bottles of water over here". He doesn't want anyone losing patience and going home before voting.
Clay is the local Obama co-chair, and he wants his numbers in St. Louis to more than balance out the heavy McCain showing expected in nearby St. Charles County. Clay knows he has to deliver the votes he's promised to Obama, just as he has to use this opportunity to grab the voters themselves, right before they enter the booth and decide whether to give him another term.