Astronaut Kate Rubins joined millions of early voters by casting her ballot last week — but she did it from space, the New York Times reported.
“If we can do it from space, then I believe folks can do it from the ground, too,” said Rubins, according to the Times.
Rubins also voted from space during the 2016 election, CNN reported.
From the International Space Station: I voted today— NASA Astronauts (@NASA_Astronauts) October 22, 2020
— Kate Rubins pic.twitter.com/DRdjwSzXwy
How does voting in space work?
- The first American to vote in space was astronaut David Wolf in 1997, according to People magazine.
- Astronauts “signal their intent to participate in an election from space” by filling out the Federal Postcard Application (or FPCA), which is the same form military members and their families use while they are serving outside of the United States in order to vote absentee, NASA wrote in a post on its website.
- After the FPCA is approved, the county clerk from the astronaut’s home state sends a “test ballot” to NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, and a training computer tests whether it can be filled out and returned to the county clerk, according to NASA.
- If the test is successful, the astronaut receives a secure electronic ballot. Once the astronaut’s vote is cast, the ballot is downlinked and delivered to the county clerk by email, which can only be opened by the clerk with a secure password, per NASA.