Voting is important. But voting isn’t enough: You’ve got to make sure your vote actually counts. “But wait, what?" you may be asking. "That doesn’t just… happen automatically? Why? Also, how?” Unfortunately, we can’t tell you what or why, but we can tell you how. Here’s your guide to making sure your vote counts on Election Day.

Make sure you’re registered to vote

If you’re not, whoops, well, it’s too late now. Better luck next time. If you are, congratulations! It’s decision time. Will you be voting by mail, voting early in person, or voting on Election Day? If you’re voting by mail, you’ll need to request your ball— oh, yeah, it’s too late for this, too. Sorry, our bad!

Find your polling place

Put on your face mask and head to the Great Forest. After seven days and as many nights, you will reach an enchanted bridge over the Haunted Waters. Before you can cross, you must face the keeper of the bridge. He will not allow you safe passage until you answer his three riddles:

  • Why do we still have the Electoral College?
  • How many beans are inside the Goya can?
  • If you vote but you don’t post a picture of your I VOTED sticker on social media, are you better than everyone you know, or are you also very annoying, just in a different way?

Answer all three correctly, and you’ll be able to cross to the other side, where you’ll find yourself immersed in darkness. You have entered a pitch-black void with no beginning or end. In the distance, a light will flicker. The light will be twice as tall as most men you’ve met on dating apps. Is it the wet moon? A faraway star? Step closer, and you’ll see it is a lantern held aloft by the 12-Foot Home Depot Skeleton, who will be the Virgil of your journey to the underworld, which incidentally is where your nearest polling place is located because all the ones in your surrounding neighborhood have closed.

You’ve never noticed this before, but the skeleton’s LifeEyes are, in fact, quite lifelike.

The skeleton will unfurl an endless parchment scroll before your feet. This is the voter roll. You must find your signature among the names — and you must find the name of your skeleton guide. But what is their name? Mi-Skele Obama? Bruce Spinesteen? You don’t have time to be wrong. Election Day is nigh, and Brett Kavanaugh will throw away every ballot that arrives after his fourth beer of the morning. You look into the skeleton’s LifeEyes, which wobble gently as if seeking an escape from their plastic skull-prison. A voice from within you whispers: This is the real Melania. And you realize none of the Melanias that you’ve seen before were ever real, that you have known this all along.

You arrive at your polling place where you wait in line for the standard amount of time (10,000 hours). When you reach the front of the line, you are asked to produce your ID. You reach into your pocket, where your wallet always is, but it isn’t there. You have no ID. You have no identity. Time has collapsed in on itself, and you are everyone and no one, you are with the skeleton but, crucially, you are also a skeleton, and one day you will be nothing but a skeleton. You explain this to the poll worker, who nods solemnly and lets you into the voting booth.

Vote! It’s the moment you’ve been waiting for! Feel the awesome weight of democracy in your hands as you vote for the next President of the United States of America. Then feel confusion and shame flood your body as you realize that you did not do any research about down-ballot candidates, and you don’t know who any of these other people are. Can you not vote for AOC? Is she just for New York? Shit. Well. Fill in a bunch of circles really fast to get that part over with.

Pick up your sticker. Cool!

Return home and await your fate. Will your vote count? Who can say? Even if you do everything just as we’ve described it here, it is entirely possible that your vote will be shredded, fed to feral cats, or burned in a literal dumpster fire. You’d think there would be more rules about this, but it turns out the Supreme Court can just do, like, whatever they want. This means that, in keeping with her B+ grasp on the First Amendment, Justice Amy Coney Barrett might only count four out of every five ballots. So, your odds aren’t great. But hey, no matter what happens, remember that in four years you’ll get another chance to do this all over again. Probably.