Space Exploration

Even While In Space, Astronauts Can Vote

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Your local polling place is probably just right around the corner. For astronauts, not so much. But travelers to space don't have to miss out on putting their two cents into politics—they can vote from space. The first person to vote in space was David Wolf, an American aboard Russia's Mir space station in 1997, who cast a vote in a local election. In 2004, Leroy Chiao voted in the U.S. presidential election from the International Space Station.

But how does it work? NASA Mission Control at the Johnson Space Center in Houston sends digital ballots to eligible astronauts in space. Once they cast their votes, the ballots are sent back to NASA along the same secure path. NASA then sends the ballots directly to voting authorities. Texas legislators passed a law in 1997 to allow this system to happen. Learn more about what happens in the process in the video below.

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