How astronauts from outside the Earth vote in the US elections 2022?

The US midterm elections are taking place today (November 8), and the three Americans who currently live aboard the International Space Station (IS), NASA astronauts Josh Cassada, Nicole Mann and Frank Rubio — have a great opportunity to participate, according to space.

NASA’s Kate Robbins explained how extraterrestrial voting takes place in a question-and-answer video, which was released in November 2020, while she was living aboard the orbiting laboratory.

“It’s actually a lot like the process of voting by absentee ballot from home,” she said in the video, which celebrated the 20th anniversary of the continued human presence on the International Space Station.

Before heading to the station, Robbins filled out a federal postcard application (FPCA), is similar to the absentee ballot application that many other US citizens fill out, but is used specifically for people who are abroad during elections, such as military personnel and their families.

Most astronauts who vote while in space choose to vote as Texas residents because they fly to Houston for training before their mission begins. According to NASA, a 1997 state law passed in Texas allows legal voting from space, with a defined absentee voting system for astronauts. to vote entitled “Low Earth Orbit”.

Before the astronaut can vote, NASA has to test whether the ballot can be filled out, the county clerk sends a test ballot to NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston and a space station training computer tests whether someone is able to fill out and submit the ballot again. other to the employee.

If the poll passes the test, the real ballot is encrypted and sent to the astronaut on the ISS, and the writer also sends the voting crew member’s credentials for security at opening the poll, which the astronaut then electronically fills out and emailed back to the clerk The boycott to record the vote, and the employee also has a password to ensure that he is the only person who can open the email.

Although this is not officially part of the process, Robins set up her voting booth on the space station back in 2020, locking the door at her crew quarters and putting up a handwritten sign that reads “ISS Voting Booth”.

“It’s our little area where we sleep and have a computer,” she said in the video. “It’s a private area of ​​the space station and looks like it would be the right size for a voting booth at home.”

Robbins voted twice from orbit, as she was also on the space station during the 2016 presidential election.

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