Udayavni Special

US Elections: How do Astronauts vote from Space?


Team Udayavani, Sep 27, 2020, 2:28 PM IST

NASA astronaut Kate Rubins told on Friday that she plans to cast her next vote from space more than 200 miles above Earth.

A 1997 bill passed by Texas legislators set up a technical procedure for astronauts, nearly all of whom live in Houston, to cast their ballot from 220 miles above Earth.

In 1997, NASA’s David Wolf became the first astronaut to cast his using this provision while he was aboard the Russian Space Station Mir.

Here’s how

Before the mission, an astronaut identifies which elections he or she will be in orbit for. Following this, six months before the elections, astronauts are provided with a standard form called the, “Voter Registration and Absentee Ballot Request – Federal Post Card Application”.

Then, before Election Day, an encrypted electronic ballot is uplinked to the astronauts by JSC’s Mission Control. Using a set of unique credentials sent to each of them by e-mail, astronauts can access their ballots, cast their votes, and downlink them back down to Earth to the County Clerk’s office.

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