Yes, Astronauts Do Vote From Space, Here’s How

astronauts vote from space

Getty Image / NASA / Handout

Sorry, but you now have no excuse not to cast your vote because if astronauts in outer space can vote, well, so can you. I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve never thought about how or even if astronauts can vote in space, but apparently they can.

NASA recently announced that astronaut Kate Rubins cast her vote from a makeshift voting booth aboard the International Space Station. The story would have been a lot cooler if they fired off a rocket with her vote attached to it back down to Earth, but it’s not all that exciting. It was simple enough, Rubins essentially sent her county clerk her vote in a PDF. Hey, at least she didn’t have to wait in any lines or anything.

In September, NASA explained the entire process of how astronauts go about casting their vote from way above. Just like military members and other Americans living overseas, astronauts have to first submit a Federal Postcard Application in order to request an absentee ballot. It’s safe to assume the absentee ballot will be approved seeing as how astronauts on the International Space Station are 200 miles above Earth, then a ballot is eventually sent up electronically.

The astronaut receives two documents. One being a password-protected ballot by the Space Center’s mission control center and the second an email from the county clerk’s office with the password. The astronaut then fills out their ballot, sends it back down to the Space Center who passes the message to the county clerk. The county clerk is the only other person with the password, so they then open the ballot up and copy it over to a regular paper ballot, and then submit it just like any other ballot.

Astronauts voting from space is a relatively new thing. In the early days of space travel, astronauts would only be in space for a relatively short period of time, but today astronauts take on six-month-long missions on the International Space Station and can miss out on voting windows.


[H/T Mental Floss]