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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Penn chapter.

If you’re worried about your vote not being counted during the pandemic – you’re not alone! According to the ProPublica and Pew Research Center, around half of registered voters feel like voting will be difficult this year, especially since physically going to polls isn’t a widely-available option for most people. With that, here’s your guide to voting during the era of COVID-19.

Register to vote ASAP!

Deadlines vary across states, but if you feel like there’s the slightest chance you’re not registered, there’s no harm in checking. Here are some ways you can register if you haven’t already:  

Register online using vote.gov, or download this National Mail Voter Registration form. The registration form can be filled out online and then printed, or you can fill the form out by hand; just don’t forget to sign before mailing it in!

Choose your preferred voting method

If you choose to vote by mail, make sure you request a mail-in ballot as early as possible. Once received, don’t procrastinate on returning your ballot. The postal service strongly advises voters to mail in or drop off their ballots at least a week before their state’s deadline. If you’re worried about sending in your ballot, most states also offer a ballot box and the option to send a ballot through a designated drop off-site. 

If you prefer to vote in-person, the CDC recommends you vote early to avoid large crowds and long wait times. If you decide to vote on November 3rd, make sure to prepare for a crowd of eager voters; according to an NBC News and Wallstreet Journal poll, 43% of voters are planning to vote on Election Day. 

Read ALL the instructions! 

Pretend you’re taking the SATs again! One wrong mark and your vote won’t count! 

Here are some things to look out for: 

Even a coffee stain can mess up the scantron machine so be careful about where you fill out your ballot. 

Make sure to check what color ink your state requires you to use – even a mistake as miniscule as this can render your ballot unusable.

Remember to sign your envelope! Every state requires voters to sign an affidavit on the outside of the envelope to confirm their identity and eligibility to vote, so triple-check that you took care of all required signatures. 

Also, make sure your signature matches the one on your ID. Often, elderly and young voters have their ballots counted as unfit because their signatures don’t match. 

For more information on other common voting mistakes, check out this article!

Track your ballot! 

Make sure to track your ballot if you can; most states allow online tracking, and, if not, you can also call your local election office to check the status of your ballot. Each ballot will have a tracking number, so make sure to write it down before you mail in or drop off your ballot. All states track ballots differently, so check out this guide to see the instructions for your specific state.

Be informed!

Make sure to research both the local and national propositions presented on your ballot. To find information about the 2020 election, check out this cheat sheet on What’sontheBallot.com. 

Anna Sophia is a freshman at The University of Pennsylvania, studying English with a minor in marketing. She grew up in Los Angeles, California and has written Op-eds for: CNN, USA Today, The Daily Reporter, OZY.com as well as Crossfire(a high school based newspaper). She also attended the Medill-Northwestern Journalism Institute.