If a NASA Astronaut in Space Can Vote, So Can You

If you try hard enough, you can probably come up with 100 reasons not to vote. You’re working. You have a date. You have to walk your dog, feed your tarantula, or wash your hair. (Or wash your dog’s hair while feeding him a tarantula.) But one NASA astronaut is about to prove that you have no excuses for skipping out on your civic duty. Why? Because she’s voting from space.

“It’s critical to participate in our democracy,” NASA astronaut Kate Rubins told The Associate Press. “We consider it an honor to be able to vote from space.”

Rubins will be cruising over 200 miles above her nearest polling place when she casts her ballot. But instead of using the USPS to deliver it like the rest of us, she’ll receive her absentee ballot electronically from Mission Control in Houston, Texas.

According to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, “Using a set of unique credentials sent to each of them by e-mail, astronauts can access their ballots, cast their votes, and downlink them back down to Earth,” where they are forwarded to the county clerk to be counted.

As cool as Rubins’ Election Day workaround is, she isn’t the first to “vote while you float.” That honor went to astronaut David Wolf in 1997, shortly after then-Governor George W. Bush signed a measure into law that allowed astronauts to vote while on missions. The measure originated in Texas because most astronauts live in Houston.

“I think it’s 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.”

Come Nov. 3, be like an astronaut, not a space cadet. Vote!

Cover Photo: Bill Ingalls/NASA / Handout (Getty Images)

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