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Wednesday, December 02, 2020

US Elections 2020: Astronaut Kate Rubins on how she voted from International Space Station

US Elections 2020: For privacy, the voting booth was set up in the sleeping area even though it is not necessary. Rubins even pasted a hand-written "ISS Voting Booth" sign in her crew quarters. 

By: Tech Desk | New Delhi | Updated: November 4, 2020 6:35:05 pm
us elections voting, Kate Rubins vote, astronaut Kate Rubins, us election voting from space, international space station voting processUS astronaut Kate Rubins' polling booth on ISS (Source: NASA/Twitter)

The world has changed since the Covid-19 pandemic and it had an impact on the US Presidential Elections as well. People are often reluctant to cast their votes now more so with the risk of contracting the virus. However, the only American astronaut Kate Rubins explains how she was able to cast her vote while being in space at the International Space Station.

In a Q&A session with National Aeronautics Space Administration (NASA), Rubins clarified that the whole process on the even of 20th anniversary of humans living on the International Space Station. “It’s actually pretty similar to the process of voting by absentee ballot from home,” she said in the video.

The 42-year-old astronaut explained that the process started when she filled out a Federal Postcard Application (FPCA). The application was similar to what army personnel sign when they are going overseas for an assignment. However, Rubins isn’t technically overseas as she is in space.

For privacy, the voting booth was set up in the sleeping area even though it is not necessary. She even pasted a hand-written “ISS Voting Booth” sign in her crew quarters.  Rubins further explains, “It’s our small little area where we sleep and have our computer. It’s a private area on the space station and it seems like it would be about the right size for a voting booth back down at home.”

Like every other US citizen, it is mandatory for the astronaut to send his/her vote by 7 PM on election day to make it count. This was not the first time Rubins voted while floating around the sun as she knows the process from 2016 when Donald Trump was elected as US President.

It has been more than 23 years since US residents have been voting from space. NASA’s David Wolf became the first astronaut to cast his vote when he was at the Russian Space Station Mir.

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