ZHEZJAZGAN, KAZAKHSTAN- OCTOBER 29: Expedition 49 NASA astronaut Kate Rubins talks to her family via satellite phone shortly after she Russian cosmonaut Anatoly Ivanishin of Roscosmos, and astronaut Takuya Onishi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) landed in a remote area near the town of Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan on Sunday, Oct. 30, 2016 (Kazakh time). Rubins, Ivanishin, and Onishi are returning after 115 days in space where they served as members of the Expedition 48 and 49 crews onboard the International Space Station. (Photo by Bill Ingalls-NASA via Getty Images)

Photo by: Bill Ingalls/NASA

Bill Ingalls/NASA

NASA Astronaut Votes from Space

By: Leah Weber

Election Day is November 3, 2020. As that deadline approaches, Americans who live all over the world are taking advantage of early voting in record numbers. But what if you're an American in space who can't make it to a ballot box?

October 23, 2020

NASA Astronaut Kate Rubins committed to voting from Space prior to her mission to the International Space Station. Now that she is safely 248 miles above the Earth, she cast her ballot yesterday. In an interview with AP before her mission, Rubins spoke out about the importance of voting, "It’s critical to participate in our democracy,” Rubins said. “We consider it an honor to be able to vote from space.”

This is not a new tradition. Since the 1997 legislation, "Vote While You Float" allowed Americans in orbit to cast their ballots, Astronauts have been proud to exercise their right to vote, while on the job. The first astronaut to vote in space was Doug Wolf on board the Russian Mir Space Station. Astronauts are given the standard issue absentee ballot registration form and they are to pick what elections they will be voting in prior to departure.

STS-86 crewmember David Wolf, the first American to vote in space, relaxes in the Spacehab module while Space Shuttle Atlantis was docked to Mir (10/16/1997)

Photo by: NASA


STS-86 crewmember David Wolf, the first American to vote in space, relaxes in the Spacehab module while Space Shuttle Atlantis was docked to Mir (10/16/1997)

Every single election, whether its local or national, is equally important. These astronauts have already dedicated their lives to representing our country in research and more in space, it is truly honorable that they choose to exercise their right to vote while so far away. Join Astronaut Rubins in 2020 and make sure you can cast your ballot this year. Head to Vote.gov to make your plan.

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