A spokesperson for the Electoral Commission has admitted that there are serious concerns on the eve of the EU Referendum after a number of ballot counting computers only registered REMAIN votes in testing.

1000 of the specially-designed computers have been deployed around the UK to try and speed up the counting process when the polls close at 10pm on Thursday 23rd June.

But Southend News Network can EXCLUSIVELY reveal that more than 800 of them have been affected by an optical character recognition fault.

In simple terms, tests have shown that they are ‘ignoring’ any ballot papers where a cross has been placed in the ‘leave’ box.

Claude-Jean Wünker is head engineer for Zahlen, the German company who designed the vote counting machines.

He said: ‘It has come to our attention this evening that a significant number of our ballot counting machines have developed a fault which makes them only capable of counting crosses in the ‘remain’ box.

Our software programmers will be working throughout the night to try and fix the problem, but all 1000 machines will definitely be in service when the voting stations close at 10pm.’

A source in Zahlen’s Southend On Sea testing centre said: ‘As a test exercise, we got 10,000 schoolchildren to put a cross on a replica of the official ballot paper for the EU Referendum, and then our team of volunteers manually counted them all.’

‘57% voted to leave the EU, 41% voted to remain, and the remaining 2% were spoiled.’

‘However, once the entire test batch had been put through one of the £35,000 counting machines, the results were given as 41% to remain and 59% spoiled – it recognised every ‘leave’ vote as a spoiled paper and in my opinion it is way too late to fix it now.’