PEORIA — It's appearing more likely that the job of county auditor will remain an elected position in Peoria County.

In a Friday count of additional vote-by-mail ballots received by the county election commission, a referendum proposing to make the office appointive by the County Board showed slipping support.

Election night counts had shown the referendum losing by 14 votes, and the election commission count Friday — after 39 mailed ballots and 10 provisional ballots were reviewed — widened the gap further.

The anti-appointment votes now outnumber the pro-appointment ones by 21, at a tally of 11,029 to 11,050.

The next count of any received mail ballots — which must have been postmarked by Tuesday to be eligible — will take place in the middle of next week on Wednesday, election commission executive director Tom Bride said. A further count will occur prior to the formal canvass of results the week of April 2, if any additional ballots arrive.

"The first (post-election count) is usually the biggest, and they fall off after that," Bride said Friday.

This ballot issue is the third instance in three local elections in which results are not clear and definitive on election night and could be altered by mailed ballots. That was also the case in the Fifth District City Council general election race last April between Denis Cyr and Rita Ali in which Cyr prevailed by a single vote. The at-large City Council primary last February also saw a close race for the final general election slot between Rob Hanauer and Amr Elsamny, and Hanauer secured it, again by a single vote.

Chris Kaergard can be reached at ckaergard@pjstar.com or 686-3255. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisKaergard