US Election 2020: How astronauts register to vote from space

Posted by: Explained Desk | New Delhi |

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

NASA astronaut Kate Rubins, who arrives aboard the International Space Station (ISS) on US Presidential Election Day, will cast her vote from space. (Photo: (via NASA / GCTC / Andre Schlepin AP)

NASA astronaut Kate Rubins arrives aboard the International Space Station (ISS) on US Presidential Election Day Her vote will be recorded from space, Reported the Associated Press. At a distance of 200 miles, the RSS orbits the earth at 17,000 miles per hour. Within the RSS, the missions lasted more than six months, and American astronauts were able to cast their ballots through a special absentee ballot system.

How is this possible?

The bill, passed by the Texas Legislature in 1997, established a technical voting process for astronauts, enabling them to live in Texas and vote remotely from space. In the 2016 presidential election, astronauts Edward Michael Finke and Greg Chamitoff, who lived and worked at ISS, accessed a secret ballot and cast their ballots.

In 1997, NASA’s David Wolf became the first astronaut to use this system when he was on the Russian space station, Mir.

How does the system work?

The rule states that a person who is in a spacecraft on an earlier voting period or election day can vote using this method when applying for a federal postcard application (FPCA). “The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) will submit in writing to the Secretary of State a method for handing over and receiving secret ballots for astronauts during an election period,” he said.

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According to a blog post published by NASA, astronauts have to choose the space (local / state / federal) in which they want to participate in space, a year before the voting process begins. Following this, six months before the election, the astronauts were given a standard form, “Ballot Request for Voter Registration – Federal Postcard Application.”

One day before U.S. election day, an encrypted electronic ballot is appealing to astronauts, using unique credentials they personally send via e-mail. This way, they can access their ballots and, after registering to vote, they’l downlink back down to the County Clerk’s office.

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