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The Only American in Space Casts His Ballot 250 Miles Above Earth

Monday, November 7, 2016 23:24
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Float while you vote! The only American in space casts his ballot 250 miles above Earth | 07 Nov 2016 |

The only American who is not on the planet cast his vote from space, in keeping with NASA’s motto of ‘Vote while you float.’

NASA said Monday that astronaut Shane Kimbrough filed his ballot in Tuesday’s presidential election from the International Space Station sometime over the past few days.

Six months before the election, astronauts are provided with a standard form: the ‘Voter Registration and Absentee Ballot Request — Federal Post Card Application.’ A secure electronic ballot is forwarded to the astronauts by Mission Control in Houston and returned by email to the county clerk.

A 1997 Texas law gave astronauts, most of whom live in or near Houston, the ability to vote while they’re off on a space mission. Before launch, if an election is scheduled to take place during their mission, each astronaut chooses which local, state, and federal elections they would like to vote in. 

According to NASA, mission control in Houston then sends a “secure electronic ballot” from the County Clerk to the space station, and the astronaut records their vote and sends it back. Astronaut David Wolf was the first American to vote from space in 1997, the same year the law was passed.

Astronaut Kate Rubins also cast her vote from space a few weeks ago, before she returned to Earth on October 30th.

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