The Cook Islands Chief Electoral Officer is defending her decision to accept postal votes from New Zealand which arrived two days after the polls closed.
The Democratic Party criticised the move, saying the votes were late and should not have been counted.
An early count showed the Democratic Party had the lead but hundreds of votes by declaration turned the outcome in favour of the Cook Islands Party which eventually won a majority with 13 seats.
The party says the postal votes contributed to its election defeat and it will challenge the results.
But Chief Electoral Officer Taggy Tangimetua says although she was not notified of those votes until two days after the polls closed, they were received in time by a returning officer in Auckland and she used her discretionary powers to accept them.