If democracy is a journey, this would be leaving home without your wallet.
While the Houses had been selecting their candidates, the Photography Club had been making necessary arrangements for the election. There would be a ballot box in each House, under the Fidelius Charm to keep them from being found and tampered with. The areas where the election notices were posted would be updated at least once a day to let everyone know what was happening. They had also prepared a collection of Memory Balls for use by the candidates.
Memory Balls were used to send short messages. Each ball could contain a message approximately one minute long, with audio and video. All you needed to do to watch a Memory Ball was to press it to your forehead.
On the Saturday morning after the candidates were selected, they and their alternates were summoned to a meeting in a quiet classroom to go over the ground rules.
First, the ballots. After hearing the story of the Gryffindor fiasco, Colin showed the assembled girls the supply of ballots that they had prepared, and fired several spells at the ballots to show
that they truly were secure. The candidates would be listed in alphabetical order, thus:
Bell, Katie (Gryffindor)
Bones, Susan (Hufflepuff)
Brocklehurst, Mandy (Ravenclaw)
Granger, Hermione (Gryffindor)
Greengrass, Daphne (Slytherin)
Jones, Megan (Hufflepuff)
Lovegood, Luna (Ravenclaw)
Parkinson, Pansy (Slytherin)
Colin stated, "Now, we'll commission a poll later today, to let everyone know roughly where the candidates stand. After that, you're on your own." The candidates nodded.
Lee then addressed the alternates. "Now, if any of the candidates cannot continue their campaigns, we hope you are ready to step in. In addition, we'd like you to help out the candidates from your houses." Again, there was general agreement.
"Thirteen days to the election, ladies. May the best woman win, and let's remember what this election is all about. We're helping Harry so that he can help us to get rid of V... Voldemort. I hope that everyone keeps that in mind during this campaign. Keep it fair, and we'll see you here again on election night." With those final words from Lee, the meeting broke up.
Parvati and Padma Patil had already discussed their situation. Both were convinced that they'd lost their chances to stand unfairly, but neither knew what they could really do about it. Silver's numbers and Landreaux's incompetence didn't amount to a conspiracy, after all. And between Parvati's unfortunate date with Harry and Parvati's indifferent relations with Hermione, they probably didn't have much of a chance anyway.
But perhaps they could get someone else to stand who might... cut them in on the action. After a few minutes of thought, they settled on just the right person to be a potential candidate.
Most people don't consider Chudley a pleasant place to spend a brief November day. A small town in northwestern England, far from any major city, Chudley was suffering from a storm dumping heavy rain mixed with sleet on the its denizens.
Perfect Quidditch weather, in other words.
Practice was ending, in preparation for the next day's game, when the owl flew toward one of the team's rookie Chasers.
Angelina Johnson was thinking, not for the first time, that professional Quidditch was definitely more attractive in abstract than in reality. To be fair, she thought she had an agreement to be drafted by powerful Puddlemere United, only to find that Chudley had traded to move up in the draft and select her. Now she was sitting on the bench behind Chasers who had potent emotional connections to the fans despite minimal ability.
She had a Chaser's build, tall and broad-shouldered, with strong arms and legs to throw the Quaffle and hold the broom. Her breasts were also larger than average for an athlete; management had asked her to pose for the cover of the team's program.
When the owl landed on her shoulder, she recognized it immediately as a Hogwarts owl, and wondered why it had come. After reading the letter, she went back to her apartment to think about what she had read.
During her time as Harry's House mate and teammate, she thought that she'd become a friend of his, and she certainly wouldn't object if he wanted to be more. She was thinking that he could probably use some companionship, and would be glad to provide it. (She'd seen Harry in the shower, which increased her enthusiasm.)
And so she replied to the Patil sisters...
Three pieces of news were posted to the waiting women of Hogwarts on Sunday.
First, the poll. Hermione Granger had the support of a third of Hogwarts girls, followed by Luna and Susan with about 15 percent each, with the other candidates far behind.
Second was an announcement that Angelina Johnson would be included as a candidate with no House affiliation, and that Parvati Patil would represent her. The new Gryffindor alternate would be Lavender Brown.
Third, the Photography Club members would make themselves available to make Memory Balls for the candidates starting that afternoon.
Hermione was glad to see the poll results. She figured that all she'd need to do was to make a simple Ball to remind voters that she had experience as Harry's friend and would be best for him. Katie was thinking along similar lines based on her Quidditch time with Harry, and thus figured that she'd make a Ball similar to Hermione's. Lavender was glad to help... especially Katie, figuring that Hermione didn't need or want her advice.
The Slytherins saw their problem- convincing the members of their House that this election was worth caring about, one way or another. But how to attract Slytherins without repelling everyone else? Pansy decided she needed her own campaign manager; Astoria barely talked to her during their first meeting.
Susan decided that she needed to play on her kinship with her Aunt Amelia, to show her ability to protect Harry from the whims of officialdom that had plagued him so badly last year. Megan decided to follow along, and Laura (whose father sat on the Wizengamot) felt this strategy made sense.
Mandy decided to try to focus on matters financial; the Brocklehurst family had massive land holdings in East Anglia, which could provide security and a place to go if everything went sour.
And Luna? She kept her own counsel, and took her Ball with her onto the grounds. She wouldn't tell Padma what she was doing, which suited Padma fine.