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How does your ballot become a vote?

Supervisor of Elections for Duval County Mike Hogan said to follow instructions when filling out your choices. Errors could cause delays in counting.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — How does a ballot become a vote?

Well even before you get to the polling place, it starts with registering to vote. The deadline in Florida and Georgia to register is Oct. 5.

From there you’ll decide if you are going to be voting by mail or in person. Vote by mail along with early voting may be the option that fits your schedule or your ability to travel or preference to distance more than election day voting might.

“Contrary to what people might think, voting early actually takes some of the strain off the election system and staff,” Clay County Supervisor of Elections Chris Chambless said. 

So you’ve received your ballot or are have finished filling-out your choices in the booth. Those are scanned or, in places where votes are electronic, stored.

Duval County Supervisor of Elections Mike Hogan said after 7 p.m. Election Day those votes are tabulated. 

“How do I know my ballot counted? Well when you walk-up to the tabulator and it has kind of like a TV screen, look at the bottom right-hand corner and see what that number is," Hogan explained, "It's counting just the number of the ballots it has received that day."

He added for mail-in-ballots there is a way to track the status from sent to received on the Supervisor of Elections website.

Hogan said to be sure to follow directions marking your ballot — a black pen filling in the circle completely. X's or checkmarks or multiple selections will send your ballot for review, causing delays.