NASA Astronaut Kate Rubins Votes from Space: 'It's Critical to Participate in Our Democracy'
This astronaut cast her long-distance ballot!
NASA astronaut Kate Rubins on Thursday posed in a pro-voting photo that was taken in space and shared via Twitter.
Rubins, 42, smiled from the International Space Station as she officially voted via their "ISS Voting Booth" ahead of the Nov. 3 election.
According to CNN, Rubins is the only American currently in space, and she also voted while not on planet Earth back in 2016.
"I think it's really important for everybody to vote," she said at the time.
"If we can do it from space, then I believe folks can do it from the ground too," Rubins added.
"There's been legislation passed a number of years ago to allow astronauts to vote in space," Rubins explained. "I think a lot of astronauts do this, they feel that it is very important. It's critical to participate in our democracy."
"We consider it an honor to be able to vote from space," she continued, explaining that astronauts fill out a form before they vote via absentee ballot.
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Most U.S. astronauts reside in Houston, where Texas law allows them to vote from space using a secure electronic ballot process.
According to a post from NASA's official Tumblr account, astronaut David Wolf was the first American to vote from space in 1997, the same year the Texas law was passed.
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The need to vote from space was the result of longer missions — as NPR reported, the typical mission on the since-retired Space Shuttle was less than two weeks. However, nowadays astronauts can be on the International Space Station for months at a time.
NASA officials said in the Tumblr post that the "voting process starts a year before launch, when astronauts are able to select which elections (local/state/federal) that they want to participate in while in space."