THIS is how the Highworth election vote-counting error happened and a look at the start of the ongoing campaign organised by Highworth residents to fix this mistake.

A small but significant misunderstanding of how bloc votes should be counted led to 10 Conservative candidates receiving 10 times the amount of votes than they should have had.

A bloc vote is when an elector gives all their votes to one party - in Highworth, a voter would have put an X next to every Tory hopeful on the ballot.

When these votes were totted up, they were mistakenly taken as 10 separate votes rather than as a bloc vote, leading to 265 bloc votes adding an extra 2,650 votes to every candidate's total.

Though the results are checked before being declared, the mistake was missed and the incorrect figures became part of the official record.

According to the council’s own website, the 10 Tory town councillor hopefuls scored 32,334 votes between them – compared to the 9,615 won by the other nine Labour and Independent candidates.

Susie Kemp, the borough returning officer, said at the time: “The votes allocated to some candidates are incorrect. I cannot be certain that this has had an impact on the candidates elected as I am unable in law to recount the ballot papers once I have declared the results of the election.”

Outraged Highworth residents crowdfunded £3,500 to pay for the costs of a petition to be sent to the High Court, where a judge would hopefully allow a recount to be carried out.

All Highworth town councillors took their seats at meetings after the election, though there is a possibility that some councillors did not receive enough votes to win.