A record number of absentee ballots are expected to be cast this year, making for an unpredictable and uncertain outcome for many races in New York after the polls close. 

And often in very tight races, those ballots are reviewed by election attorneys, challenged and potentially rejected.

I spoke with New York election lawyer Jerry Goldfeder about how to make sure your vote counts this year. 

"Fill in the oval or the boxes completely," Goldfeder said. "Otherwise the machine might not pick up who you voted for. Don't circle it or check it. Fill in the oval or the box for your candidate."

Voters also need to make sure they are signing their envelopes and adding postage. 

"Put that ballot into the oath envelope," he said. "Seal that envelope. Don't forget to sign it where your signature should go and date it. Put a stamp on and mail it. It's pretty simple."

But what if there's an error made by the voter? Problems like a stray mark could get challenged and rejectred in an especially close race. But voters this year do have some recourse. It's known as a cure process, allowing voters to essentially have a do-over.  

"The Board of Elections will call you or email you or send you a letter, allowing you to cure that hyper technical problem," Goldfeder said. "So that's a great innovation and that will reduce the number of mistaken ballots."

And with so many people voting by absentee this year, it's likely the outcomes of many races including campaigns for state Legislature and Congress as well as the presidency won't be definitive on the night of Election Day. 

"Probably we won't know," Goldfeder said, "and we should be patient."