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High Court overturns election result where wrong person elected: report

Swindon Council has welcomed a High Court ruling that overturned an election result which saw the wrong person elected as a councillor, it has been reported.

The BBC said Highworth, in Wiltshire, had fewer than 7,000 registered voters but more than 40,000 ballots were counted after the town council election in May.

Only 2,477 ballot papers were issued for the poll on 2 May. However, 41,939 votes were counted with each of the 10 Conservative candidates polling more than 3,000 votes.

The BBC report said independent candidate Ken Smith subsequently lodged an electoral petition, arguing that block votes cast in favour of all the Conservative candidates had been counted for each of them, rather than split between them.

Mr Justice Knowles said the "miscount was recognised and corrected".

Following the ruling, independent candidate Kim Barber took the place of Tory candidate Pauline Webster.

Swindon Borough Council told the BBC it was pleased the High Court had "ratified the recounted town council election results".

It added: "It brings to an end what has been an unsettling time for candidates and councillors in Highworth.

"We have carried out a thorough lessons learned exercise in the wake of May's local elections to ensure this does not happen again."

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