OTTAWA - Elections Canada is blaming “human error” for having left federal candidates in one southern Ontario riding waiting the better part of a day to find out who garnered the most votes in Monday's election.

Preliminary results from Monday night's vote showed Liberal candidate Tim Louis leading Conservative incumbent Harold Albrecht by fewer than 300 votes with all but five polls having reported in.

Yet by Tuesday morning, those five polls still hadn't been reported, leaving the race in limbo.

Elections Canada says a document that is supposed to be kept by the polls' returning officer, breaking down the number of votes each candidate received and the number of rejected ballots, was accidentally sealed inside the ballot boxes.

The problem was made worse when the returning officer was unable to reach the deputy returning officer, who also had a copy, until this morning.

Elections Canada says the five polls have now been reported and their votes did not change the outcome of the race, though the agency did not provide updated numbers on Louis's margin of victory over Albrecht.

This report was first published by The Canadian Press on Oct. 22.