I learned this, somewhat by accident, while working at the Board of Elections in Forsyth County, North Carolina. The anonymous nature of American voting has the unfortunate side effect of making it so that there is no way of going back to make sure that your particular ballot was tallied. There is, however, a workable way around this in some precincts. It involves conceding your vote on a single position of your choice, but it may be worth it to some.

Before you go in to vote, pick an electable position that you really don't care about. It is best if this is a position with no candidates on the ballot, since to vote for it, you'll need to do a write in vote anyway. When you go in to vote, write yourself in for that position. Your Board of Elections must record this vote. (See correction below.)

Once the election is over, go to your Board of Elections and ask for a record of votes for the position you wrote yourself in for. This is public information, there is no reason that you cannot be provided with this. Review the list. You should see your own name, most likely with only one vote, on the list. If your name is there, your ballot was tallied and recorded. If it isn't, then your ballot was not recorded, and you have a very good reason to be upset.

The downside of this is that, if done in mass numbers, it increases the amount of work for your local Board of Elections. I think it is worth it though.

mat catastrophe says: i'd reckon the scheme you outline falls right to hell if you are named John Smith.

This is a really good point. You can, however, write in a 'code name' unlikely to be used by anyone else.

RoguePoet says Do I even need to point out that this would be the perfect opportunity to VOTE GIANT SQUID? Today: County Drains Commissioner. Tomorrow: THE WORLD!!

wonko6942 says: re Making sure your ballot was counted in a United States Election : In Illinois, only candidates who filed an "Intent to Run" form can be considered valid write-ins, and the rest aren't counted. Chicago has its own list, which cuts numbers even more.

This is another good point. You'll want to check with your local Board of Elections to see if there's any hang-ups that would prevent this method from working. I do know, however, that it worked for me, and that it can work in many other places.