An administrative error by council officials running this year’s local elections led to councillors being criticised for a low turnout.
Officers at Three Rivers District Council (TRDC) wrongly added the number of postal votes issued for the poll, which took place on Thursday, May 5, to the number of postal votes and in-person votes that were actually cast.
This mistake made the turnout percentage of the election seem lower than it actually was in several areas, with a margin of error of up to six per cent in some places. It did not however have an effect on the actual results.
In the Chorleywood North and Sarratt ward, the turnout was miscalculated to be 29.02 per cent, when it was actually 35.08 per cent. In the Chorleywood South and Maple Cross, the turnout was miscalculated to be 34.48 per cent, when it was actually 40.50 per cent.
The blunder was spotted by Lib Dem councillor Sara Bedford, of the Abbots Langley and Bedmond ward, who criticised the officers for the mistake, saying it had led to underserved blame for low turnout being placed on her and her colleagues.
“Councillors were being criticised for a huge drop in turnout, which turns out was incorrect.
“The fact that a council was able to make such a huge mistake with the numbers is at best careless.”
A spokesperson for TRDC said: “Due to an administrative error the total electorate figure for each ward was incorrectly calculated and this in turn affected the percentage turnout figure.
“The figures have now been recalculated and re-published on the council website. The overall election results are unaffected.”
The correct, updated figures can be found at: www.threerivers.gov.uk/egcl-page/local-elections