Huntly mum Sheryl Matenga, 26, set her heart on representing her community by running for a seat on the Waikato District Council.
She has been campaigning since July and filed her nomination on the due date.
She was listed as a candidate for the Huntly ward on the council website and even attended a regional debate for candidates aged under 30 hosted at the University of Waikato.
But her dream of making a difference by bringing youth and cultural diversity to the council table was short-lived after her nomination form was ruled invalid and rejected.
This was despite the form being checked by the council's democracy manager Brendan Stringer when she brought it to the council's Ngaruawahia office on nomination day.
Matenga said she was informed by the electoral commission that her nomination was invalid due to it not being dated and signed.
Matenga said she filed her nomination an hour before the deadline. She said she worked with Stringer to make sure she had filled in everything correctly.
However, after being listed as a candidate on the Waikato District Council website, and speaking at several events, she received the bad news from the electoral commission.
"I really just felt a bit cut up about it, because I have put a lot of effort into campaigning so far," Matenga said.
"I understand I made a mistake, but I don't understand how someone from the council who helped me go over the nomination form was unable to spot it as well.
"They said to me that I didn't assess my nomination, but I brought my form into them with my passport and asked them to help me through it."
Due to the mistake being spotted on Matenga's nomination form after the shut-off period, there was no time to correct the error.
Waikato News sought comment from the Waikato District Council which referred our reporter to electoral officer Dale Ofsoske.
Electoral Officer Dale Ofsoske said it was the responsibility of the candidates to make sure they had submitted a valid nomination paper.
"The council's electoral official reviewed Sheryl Matenga's nomination paper to check and process the form.
"The check and receipt of the nomination paper did not equate to an acknowledgment that the paper was in order — this step is completed by me as the council's electoral officer," Ofsoske said.
"Both the nomination paper and the receipt for nomination document include statements confirming this, and council's electoral official noted this when completing the receipt form," he said.
"As Ms Matenga's form was submitted on the last day of the nomination period, it was not possible to complete the verification checks required before 12 noon, when the nomination period closed. When my staff discovered Ms Matenga's nomination paper was not signed, it was after nominations had closed and thus unfortunately it became invalid as Ms Matenga had failed to consent to the nomination which is a legal requirement."
Ofsoske said: "This is an important reminder of why getting nomination forms in on the last day is best avoided."
Matenga said the electoral law needed reviewing if a candidate was unable to make a small correction to their nomination forms, despite submitting it before the cut-off.
"Local government elections just need to have a bit of a whole review, postal voting and forms are a bit old, so a whole review is needed. I now have to wait another three years before I can stand again."
Matenga was refunded her $200 nomination filing fee.