The surge in the number of spoiled votes at the last Local and European Parliament elections requires urgent legislative change, a Sinn Féin TD has said.

The number of invalid votes in these elections rose from around 40,000 five years ago to more than 73,000 last May.

Eoin Ó Broin has drafted an amendment to the 1963 Electoral Act, which would restore more discretion to returning officers to determine which votes are valid.

It would ensure that ballot papers with a numerical sequence beginning with a number other than the number one could be considered as valid votes.

A Supreme Court Judgment in 2014 found that votes not beginning with the number one were invalid.

The case was taken by Dan Kiely who had lost his seat in the 2014 council elections in the Listowel electoral area.

The Sinn Féin TD believes the change that stemmed from the judgment may have had a major impact on the local elections.

Thousand of votes that would previously have been acceptable were this time found to be invalid.

Mr Ó Broin said his short amendment would bring clarity to the situation ahead of the next general election and he urged the Government to accept it.