US astronaut votes from the International Space Station

International Space Station (ISS) crew member Kate Rubins of the United States looks on after donning space suits.  Reuters / File

International Space Station (ISS) crew member Kate Rubins of the United States looks on after donning space suits. Reuters / File

Rubins filled out the ballot in the email and it was downlinked and delivered to the clerk’s office.

  • AFP
  • Last update: 23 October 2020, 08:35 IST
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An American astronaut voted on Thursday from the International Space Station, making her voice heard in the presidential election when she was 408 kilometers above Earth. “From the International Space Station: I voted today,” said Kate Rubins, a crew member, who began a six-month stay aboard the orbiting station last week, on the Twitter account of the US space agency NASA.

The message featured a photograph of Rubins, his blonde hair floating in the weightless environment, in front of a white enclosure with a paper sign reading “the ISS voting booth.”

Rubins and NASA described the process as a form of postal voting.

A secure electronic ballot generated by a Harris County clerk’s office, home of NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, was emailed to the ISS.

Rubins filled out the ballot in the email and it was downlinked and delivered to the clerk’s office.

She is no stranger to the process: Rubins voted from the ISS in the 2016 election. Congress passed a law in 1997 that made voting from space possible. “We consider it an honor to be able to vote from space,” she said in a video before she and two Russian cosmonauts were launched from the Russia-operated Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on October 14.

“If we can do it from space, then I think people can do it from the ground as well.”

Three other American astronauts were also due to vote from space, but their Oct. 31 trip to the ISS was delayed.

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