Fluff stymied the new computerised voting system used to choose the mayor of London as elsewhere in Britain high-tech electoral experiments also went wrong.
The fluff clogged up the counting machines in Enfield, delaying the final London result by four hours.
A spokesman for Data and Research Services, which supplied the London machines and had claimed that only a power cut could stop them working, said, "Fluff from green baize tablecloths got lifted up from the machines and clogged them. It took up to two hours for engineers to work out it was the fluff that was causing the problem.
He added, "The scanners have never been asked to operate on this sort of material before.''
At Stratford-on-Avon an experiment to use computers for actual voting as well as counting produced the result only 30 minutes quicker than the usual hand-counting method because of an unexplained technical glitch.
In Bury, where one ward was chosen for electronic voting, the results were declared 56 minutes after the high-tech polling booths closed - despite hopes that the new system would produce them in just five minutes.
Professor Stoker, from the University of Strathclyde, commented, "It seems like the more high-tech systems failed abysmally.