MAYORAL frontrunner Peter Blundell is still ruling out declaring victory in the Southern Downs Regional Council election, despite being more than 3300 votes ahead of the field.
Counting continued yesterday and returning officer Garry Adcock said he advised the Electoral Commission of Queensland (ECQ) he was in a position to officially declare the result.
His move was based on the number of votes counted so far, with those still to come almost certain not to change the final outcome, but he had received no response from ECQ by last night.
Mr Adcock has until Tuesday to complete counting and declare the poll, but the ECQ can let this happen earlier.
As of last night Cr Blundell was on 6310 votes, 3329 ahead of Mally McMurtrie.
Of the 23,752 mayor and councillor ballots issued by post, 18,561 - or 78% - have been returned, leaving 5191 unaccounted for.
Mr Adcock expects several hundred more to arrive today, which are only valid if dated before the close of voting at 6pm last Saturday.
Cr Blundell said yesterday said he was in "no rush" to declare himself mayor-elect.
"I'm not prepared to take that step just at the moment; I'm happy to wait until it becomes official," he said.
"I am still feeling comfortable with the way the count has progressed but I'd like to see it finalised."
Cr Jo McNally remains leader of the councillor ballot, with the eight spots likely to be filled by the current top-eight position holders.
Cr McNally - who is now 73 votes ahead of Cr Ross Bartley - last night would not confirm if she would nominate for deputy mayor but said she had been "considering" such a move.