A message was sent to the millions of voters who feel their opinion doesn't count today, when two candidates standing for Three Rivers District Council received an identical number of votes.

It was a dramatic election count at Watersmeet in Rickmansworth, in which the Conservatives and Labour took a seat each from the Liberal Democrats.

Labour also took an English Democrat seat, increased its total from four to six. The Liberal Democrats now occupy 28 seats, and the Conservatives 14.

A tie in the Carpenders Park ward resulted in the two candidates having to draw lots from an empty ballot box.

The result favoured Conservative Terry Dos Ramos, outing long-term chairman of the planning committee Geoffrey Dunne.

The Labour party's gains were both in South Oxhey. In Ashridge, Marie-Louise Straub Nolan took the seat from Seamus Dunne, English Democrats.

Ana Bakshi won in Northwick with a 58 per cent share of the vote. In 2008 Labour narrowly missed out on the ward, when Len Tippen lost by two votes to the Conservative's David Williams.

Stephen King retained his Hayling ward seat which he won in a by-election in 2009 with a 72 per cent share of the vote, increasing his majority by 19 per cent, the largest swing seen today.

Fellow Hayling ward councillor Steve Cox said: “We feel fantastic and euphoric, the Conservatives and English Democrat took a pasting.

“It's down to hard all year round campaigning and people have responded. It was a very successful day and sends a message to the Liberal Democrat and Conservative government.”

The Conservatives also celebrated a successful day with a gain in Carpenders Park and two landslide victories to retain Chorleywood East, and Moor Park and Eastbury wards.

Chris Hayward took 77 percent of the votes in Chorleywood East, down from 81 per cent in 2008, and Amrit Mediratta increased his share of Moor Park and Eastbury votes from 75 per cent to 76.

Liberal Democrat councillors held on to eight seats, but lost vote share in seven of those, in Abbots Langley, Chorleywood West, Langleybury, Leavesden, Maple Cross and Mill End, Oxhey Hall and Penn wards, compared with 2009.

In Croxley Green Brian Norman increased his vote share from 51 per cent to 59 percent.

Councillor Shaw said: “I'm delighted, the people of Three Rivers have shown confidence in us and that's something I'm incredibly pleased about.

“When one looks at the national results it makes one even more pleased. The labour gains are in the places where labour already has councillors.”

The most dramatic moment of the day came when after three counts, Carpenders Park candidates Terry Dos Ramos and Geoff Dunne had both received 674 votes.

In 2008, Geoffrey Dunne won the seat with a 56 per cent share of the vote. This year the result was decided by drawing papers from a ballot box.

A Conservative paper was drawn from the box by returning officer Steven Halls, giving Mr Dos Ramos one more vote in the Carpenders Park ward than Mr Dunne.

Mr Halls said that in his eight years as returning officer, he had not once had to decide on a ward result in this way.

Visible deflated, Mr Dunne said: “I was an interesting experience. I'm obviously disappointed, it will take me some time to get over it.

“Having lived in Carpenders Park for 37 years I still feel part of the community and will continue to support it in anyway I can.

“I hope my opponent will look after our residents.”

Conservative party leader Chris Hayward said: “Obviously we're delighted to have another councillor but it's a very unfortunate way for a councillor to win or lose.

“We commiserate with the Liberal Democrat councillor who lost.”

Voter turnout was low, at 30.93% Only one ward, Chorleywood West, broke the 40% turnout figure.

Steven Halls, returning officer, said: “It's the first election in three years where there has not been a general or European election, or referendum, to garner publicity from the national press.

“There were also too many people saying 'none of the above' or 'none of these represent me' and that is sad. If people realised how exciting elections are, maybe they'd vote more.”

Liberal Democrat leader of the council Ann Shaw said: “Voting is a moral imperative and people shouldn't take it for granted.

“The turnout is very poor indeed, it's disappointing, one doesn't know whether people couldn't make up their minds or it was down to the weather.”