Living abroad, absentee ballots are a pain in the butt - but they're all we have. And they DO count.
Too often, we hear "Oh, they don't even count absentee ballots unless it's close." WRONG! Every ballot validly cast is counted. That is a fact. Your vote will count whether you
cast it in Paris, France, or Paris, Texas.
OK, so it's true that a victor is usually called before every last vote has been tallied. But that's true for hometown voters, too! On election night, the networks are naming winners with just a small fraction of votes counted. Absentee ballots are all counted before an election result can be "certified". Remember the Florida fiasco? The vote count must be certified by the Secretary of State before it is official. That is the law.
Your vote WILL count. And if it's a very close race, the whole world will be waiting to know how YOU voted.
Here's a list of states and when they count their absentee ballots.