US Elections 2020: How Astronauts Vote from Space

Issued by: Described Desk | New Delhi |

Updated: September 27, 2020 4:59:27 pm

NASA astronaut Kate Rubins, aboard the International Space Station (ISS) on the day of the US presidential election, will vote from space. (Photo: (via NASA / GCTC / Andre Shelfin AP)

NASA astronaut Kate Rubins aboard the International Space Station (ISS) on the day of the US presidential election. Will cast his vote from space, Published by the Associated Press. The ISS is located beyond 200 miles and orbits the Earth at a speed of 17,000 miles per hour. In the ISS, missions lasted more than six months, and American astronauts were able to vote through a special non-voting system.

How is this possible?

In 1997, a bill passed by the Texas Legislature established a technical voting process for astronauts, all of whom reside in Texas and were given the ability to vote remotely from space. In the 2016 presidential election, astronauts Edward Michael Finke and Greg Samidoff defeated ISS. Lived and worked in, and voted by access to a secure secret ballot.

In 1997, NASA’s David Wolf became the first astronaut to use this rule while aboard the Russian space station Mir.

How does the system work?

The rule states that if a Federal Postcard Application (FPCA) is applied for, a person traveling in a spaceship during the early voting period or on election day can vote by this method. The rule states that “the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) will submit in writing to the Secretary of State a system for sending and receiving secret ballots to persons traveling in space during an election period.”

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According to a blog post published by NASA, when astronauts choose which elections (local / state / federal) they want to participate in space, the voting process begins a year earlier. Following this, six months before the election, the astronauts are given a standard form called “Voter Registration and Non-Voter Ball Request – Federal Postcard Application”.

One day before US Election Day, an encrypted electronic ballot is attached to the astronauts, who then use a set of unique credentials that will be emailed to them individually. This way, they can access their ballots and after voting, they attach themselves back down to earth to the county clerk’s office.

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