In a normal presidential election year, many Americans go from casting our vote before work in the morning to turning off the TV before bed, secure in our knowledge of who will lead the country for the next four years. But in 2020, there’s a better-than-average chance that won’t happen.

Even before the coronavirus struck, more Americans each election were either voting early or voting my mail. But in 2020, these numbers are expected to skyrocket, and that means states like Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, which don’t start counting mail-in ballots until election day, probably won’t have results for several days. This year, voters are facing a pandemic, a deliberately underfunded postal service, and the closure of polling locations in battleground states like Georgia, Ohio, Arizona, and Texas.

In this video, we take a comprehensive deep dive into how states count votes. Each of the 3,141 counties in the US has its own rules, but there are some basic steps that are mostly the same across the country. Whether you’re voting in person early, on election day, by mail, or dropping off your ballot, we break down some of the differences and similarities in how and when states collect, verify, process, and count ballots.