A CAMPAIGN kitty to fund a legal challenge to the Highworth Town Council election result has hit £3,500 – in just three days.

Some town residents have pledged £100 each to take their case to London’s High Court. The campaign is being led by the Highworth Community Partnership Group.

Campaigners and candidates are understood to have last night met with solicitors to discuss how they could get the bungled election count reviewed by the courts.

Keith Smith, chairman of the Highworth Community Partnership Group, said he was overwhelmed by the reaction to the campaign and fundraiser.

“I’m really delighted the people of Highworth have come together in a such a fantastic way,” he said.“It goes to show that people care about democracy and they care about justice.”

Swindon Borough Council admitted last week there had been a counting error in the town council election, understood to have been an accounting bungle in the party bloc vote.

That error meant the number of votes allocated to each of the 10 Conservative Party councillors elected to seats on the town council exceeded the number of overall ballots cast.

Susie Kemp, the borough returning officer, said: “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.” Labour politicians have called on Ms Kemp to resign as returning officer, the council staff-member responsible for overseeing the elections process.

Jamie Cope, who stood for the Labour Party in the recent town council elections, said: “There was a clear error in the numbers. We can’t be certain if the right people were elected.

“From being at the count myself I was quite shocked when the results were announced to us. There wasn’t a clear figure available to candidates to see the overall number of people who voted. Had we had that it would have been easier to ask for a recount.”

Under election law, the only way the vote can be recounted after it is declared is by order of the courts. To get the High Court to consider the result, voters must submit an elections petition within a month of election day. At a public meeting on Saturday, Highworth residents pledged to take their fight to the High Court.