One giant leap for mankind: American astronaut votes from space

Photo caption: Although the voting booth looked different for her this year, NASA provided Rubins an opportunity to proudly vote from space. Photo Credit: Unsplash

Photo caption: Although the voting booth looked different for her this year, NASA provided Rubins an opportunity to proudly vote from space. Photo Credit: Unsplash

Tara Goff

Kate Rubins, American NASA astronaut, casted her ballot from space for the second time on October 22. The International Space Station organized a voting booth for her despite not being able to go to an actual ballot box.

A member of the 63/64 crew, Rubins will spend the next six months in space, where she will be performing cardiovascular experiments. She is spending this time with two Russian astronauts, however is the only American who needed to vote on the mission.

The NASA Johnson Space Center where astronauts train is located in Houston, Texas. Because of this, those voting from space usually do so as a Texas resident. Before voting, one must submit a Federal Postcard Application, the same process military members take to vote while serving. Upon approval, a voting experiment is performed; the NASA Johnson Space Center receives a test ballot from the astronaut’s home county, checking if it is able to be completed and returned to the home county. If this is successful, the astronaut receives an email with credentials and the ballot, which they access with a secure password. The vote is then returned to the home county to be counted before the deadline.

Such an event provides inspiration across the nation. Susan Goff mentioned her pride at such a development. “It is so cool to see how the times have changed. To think a woman once never had the opportunity to vote, and now they are finding ways for one to do it in space.” Lynley Blocker, junior, adds on about the technological aspect of the situation. “It really shows how advanced we are in regard to technology. Society is so dependent on it, and sometimes we get heat for that, but it allows us to do so much. They say that every vote counts, so it is important that Rubins was given her opportunity.”

For more news on voting, read Deniz’s article on the early voting period.