Council bosses have amended an election result after 2,500 votes – more than two-thirds of the total – were “lost.”
Tories in Mirfield called for an inquiry after discrepancies were highlighted in one of the polls.
Conservatives Kath Taylor, her son James and Sean Guy were re-elected in the Northorpe ward at the Mirfield Town Council elections.
However, questions were quickly raised over the apparent low turn-out.
In Mirfield as a whole some 68% of the electorate voted in Thursday’s national and local elections but in Northorpe the original number of votes counted for the four candidates totalled just 1,074, which seemed too low to be true.
The borough council is responsible for the town and parish council election counts.
By lunchtime on Monday, a council official had contacted Clr Taylor to say that the missing votes had been found and the result would be amended.
Mirfield is a strongly Conservative town and the forgotten votes did not affect the result.
Clr Taylor said that at first she thought a ballot box from one of the two Northorpe polling stations – St Mary’s Church or Mirfield Evangelical Church – had been missed or that postal votes hadn’t been counted.
However the explanation given to Clr Taylor was that the method of counting votes – known as the ‘grass skirt’ method because of how ballot papers are pinned to a sheet – was the cause of the trouble. Some of the votes were not transferred onto the computer.
The original result given was: Kath Taylor 316; Sean Guy 313; James Taylor 295; and Jack McCabe (Labour) 150.
The amended result was: Kath Taylor 1,016; Sean Guy 983; James Taylor 969; and Jack McCabe 542. Three councillors were elected.
Clr Kath Taylor also complained about the lighting in the Acacia Room at Cathedral House in St Thomas Road, Huddersfield, where the votes were counted.
Clr Taylor said the counting staff complained they were struggling to read the ballot papers and extra lights – colour spotlights – were switched on.
Clr Taylor said: “It is just unbelievable that a mistake like this is possible. Fortunately it didn’t affect the result but it makes you question whether it has happened anywhere else.”
The ‘grass skirt’ method is used in town and parish elections where multiple candidates are elected, not the General Election or Kirklees polls.
A Kirklees Council spokesman said: “Clr Taylor made a complaint direct to the returning officer over the weekend, and on investigation it is clear that while all votes were counted accurately, and the correct order of elected councillors was announced, there had been an error, at the end of a very long count, transferring the totals from one spreadsheet to the results sheet.
“This error has now been amended and the records have been corrected. Clearly, while this is unfortunate and we are writing to the candidates to apologise, the result of the election is not affected – Kathleen Taylor, James Taylor and Sean Guy polled the most votes and were elected to Mirfield Town Council.”
The town council counts were held after the Kirklees count on Friday night.