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US Astronaut Votes From International Space Station

by : Hannah Smith on : 23 Oct 2020 12:19
US Astronaut Votes From International Space StationUS Astronaut Votes From International Space StationNASA_Astronauts/Twitter/PA

We’ve all seen the videos of people queuing round the block for early voting over the past few weeks, so it’s good to know there’s at least one place where you don’t have to wait in line.

Unfortunately for most voters, that place is 253 miles above the Earth, and there’s only one person there to cast their ballot.

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US Astronaut Kate Rubins voted from aboard the International Space Station on Thursday, October 22, in what has been described as the ‘ultimate absentee ballot’.

NASA posted a photo to Twitter of Rubins voting while floating in zero gravity, along with a message from the Astronaut, who is just one week into a six-month stretch on board the ISS.

The photo shows Rubins pointing to a makeshift sign reading ‘ISS Voting Booth’, which is stuck to a compartment that looks suspiciously like the International Space Station’s toilet.

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Rubins spoke about her excitement to be able to vote from space before launching from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan last week.

She told France24:

We consider it an honour to be able to vote from space. If we can do it from space then I believe folks can do it from the ground too.

According to NASA, the absentee voting process was accomplished through a secure electronic ballot sent via email to the ISS. Rubins then filled in the ballot, which was downlinked back to the Harris County clerk’s office in Houston, Texas, to be counted.

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US flag in space from the ISSUS flag in space from the ISSPA Images

Harris County is home to NASA’s Johnson Space Center, which acts as Mission Control for the Agency’s spaceflights. Astronauts have been able to vote in space since 1997, when Congress past a special act to establish the process.

And while this sounds like a pretty unique experience, it turns out this isn’t even Rubin’s first time voting from space. The astronaut also happened to be on board the International Space Station in 2016, and cast her vote shortly before returning to Earth.

Three other American astronauts due to launch into space next week were also expected to cast their votes from the ISS, but their mission has reportedly been delayed.

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Spending an hour or so stuck in line to vote doesn’t seem so difficult now, does it?

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Topics: Science, Astronaut, ISS, NASA, Space, US, vote, Voting

Credits

France24
  1. France24

    Ultimate absentee ballot: US astronaut votes from space station