Nov 10, 2016 07:37 PM EST
A 19-year old Texas state law has enabled astronauts to cast votes, despite their being in space. Shane Kimbrough is the latest American astronaut to have cast his vote for the U.S. Presidential Elections straight from space. Kate Rubins, Kimbrough's colleague, also filled the ballot right before returning to earth from her mission. This process is done just in case she will have a delayed landing.
The two astronauts voted using an absentee ballot that was sent to and from the International Space Station (ISS), through a secure electronic connection. They have indicated their addresses as 'low Earth orbit' in their ballots. This kind of voting system has already been in existence for astronauts since 1997 the Texas state legislature approved Rule 81. 35.
The rule was formulated due to former Texas State Senator Mike Jackson's frustration when astronauts do not have the chance to vote while they are in space, according to CNBC. His district also covered the Johnson Space Center of NASA. He has emphasized how the astronaut's vote matters and recalled that he won his election by only seven votes out of over 26,000.
NASA officials announced in a blog post that the voting process usually starts one year before the launch in which the astronauts will choose the elections -- local, state, federal elections -- they want to participate in while in space. Six months before the elections, the astronauts will be provided with a standard Voter Registration and Absentee Ballot Request, which is a Federal Post Card Application.
The classic absentee ballot was made into a digital version and was sent to the ISS through the Johnson Space Center. The election authority figures then receives the filled out ballots. David Wolf is the first American astronaut who casted a vote from Russia's Mir space station in 1997, according to Christian Science Monitor.
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