Devon and Cornwall were the last to declare the winner of the police and crime commissioner election – despite the record low turnout – after a series of problems at the count.
Officials had forecast that the first count – at Carn Brea Leisure Centre – of the first preferences made by voters, would be announced at around 4pm with the overall result, following a second round of counting, at 8pm. In the event the first count, won comfortably by Tony Hogg, was finally announced shortly after 8pm.
The overall result, after second preferences in the run off between Mr Hogg and independent Brian Greenslade were totalled, was revealed shortly after midnight.
It was the last of the results of the 41 elections in England and Wales to be announced, despite a turnout of just 15.14%.
Count organiser David Cunningham said: "There have been a huge number of doubtful papers that have had to be dealt with and that takes additional time. Everything has to stop until those have been dealt with. You always hope with these things that staff will start slowly and pick up but in some areas we have not picked up as much as I would like."
Kevin Lavery, the chief executive of Cornwall Council, and police area returning officer, confirmed there had been problems with the verification process – comparing the number of votes in the boxes with the number of ballot papers issued to voters.
Mr Lavery said there had been a number of recounts where numbers didn't tally: "We are very confident we have a robust result. It is important to do it right, rather than do it fast," he added.
In all, 6,339 votes were rejected with 2,108 voting for more than one candidate on the first preference while 3,320 were "void for uncertainty as to the first preference vote".