While Americans can vote in person or by mail, there is one US citizen who plans to cast her next vote from the space miles above Earth. NASA astronaut Kate Rubins, who will be in the International Space Station on the day of the US presidential elections, will cast her vote from space.
The ISS is located over 200 miles away and orbits the Earth at 17,000 miles an hour. Aboard the ISS, missions can last for over six months, and American astronauts have been able to cast their vote via a special absentee ballot system. “I think its really important for everybody to vote, Rubins said. If we can do it from space, then I believe folks can do it from the ground, too,” Rubins told.
This isn’t the first time an astronaut has decided to cast their vote from space. In 2016, NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough cast his vote from ISS, 259 miles above Earth. While the first American to vote from space was David Wolf, who cast his ballot from the Russian space station Mir.
The rule states that a person who is on a space flight during the early-voting period or on election day can vote by this method provided they apply by a Federal Postcard Application. “NASA” shall submit in writing to the Secretary of State a method of transmitting and receiving a secret ballot for persons on a space flight during an election period,” the rule states.
The voting process starts a year before launch, when the astronauts are supposed to select which elections (local/state/federal) they want to take part in while in space. Following this, six months before the elections, astronauts are provided with a standard form called the, “Voter Registration and Absentee Ballot Request – Federal Post Card Application”. A day before US Election Day, an encrypted electronic ballot is uplinked to the astronauts, who then use a set of unique credentials that are sent to them individually by e-mail. In this way, they can access their ballots and after casting their vote, they downlink them back to Earth to the county clerk’s office.
The face-off between Trump and his Democratic challenger Joe Biden was fiery, to put it mildly, with the latter calling him a liar and telling him to “shut up” as the pair clashed in a bad-tempered start to their first televised debate. “The fact is that everything he is saying so far is simply a lie. I’m not here to call out his lies. Everybody knows he’s a liar,” Biden said. Tension was palpable from the opening minutes, with the pair interrupting each other repeatedly, leading Biden to lash out at one point: “Will you shut up, man!.