Before early voting has even begun, 309 more absentee ballots, or mail-in ballots, have been returned to the Hays County elections office than were cast during the entire 2016 presidential election.

Hays County voters mailed 4,586 absentee ballots in the 2016 general election, according to voting records. As of Oct. 7, the elections office had received 4,895 mail-in ballots—a 6.74% increase.

Mail-in ballots have been accepted since Sept. 24, according to information from Hays County.

The number of registered voters in Hays County has also grown, with 116,501 registered voters in the 2016 election and 128,180 active voter registrations for this November's election as of Oct. 1, according to Hays County.

An additional 21,057 voter registrations of Hays County residents were considered in suspense. These voters were still eligible to cast a ballot if they fill out a statement of residency declaring that they continue to reside in Hays County. This is required because their voter registration certificates, or other mail, were returned to a county office, according to Hays County.

Altogether, there were 149,237 eligible voters in Hays as of Oct. 1—a 28.1% increase over registered voters in the 2016 presidential election.

The deadline to register to vote passed Oct. 5, but registrations can be checked on the Texas secretary of state's website.

As of Oct. 8, there are 27 days left to return mail-in ballots.

Mail-in ballots must be received by election officials by 7 p.m. Nov. 3 if the carrier envelope is not postmarked or by 5 p.m. on Nov. 4 if the carrier envelope is postmarked by 7 p.m. at the location of the election on Election Day.

Early voting begins Oct. 13 and will last through Oct. 30.