US astronauts to vote from space
US: Americans from all over the world will vote for the next U.S.
president on Nov. 4, the election day, but few ballots will have
traveled as far as those cast by two NASA astronauts.
Commander Edward Michael Fincke and Flight Engineer Gregory Chamitoff
are living and working onboard the International Space Station. Though
they are 350 kilometers above Earth and orbiting at 28,000 kms per hour,
they will still be able to participate in the upcoming election, NASA
said on Monday.
A 1997 bill passed by Texas legislators sets up a technical procedure
for astronauts nearly all of whom live in Houston to vote from space.
A secure electronic ballot, generated by local county clerk’s office,
is uplinked by NASA’s Johnson Space Center Mission Control Center. An
e-mail with crew member-specific credentials is sent from the county
clerk to the crew member.
These credentials allow the crew member to access the secure ballot.
The astronauts will cast their votes and a secure completed ballot is
downlinked and delivered back to the county clerk’s office by e-mail to
be officially recorded.
To highlight their unique voting situation and to encourage others to
exercise their civic duty, Fincke and Chamitoff sent a special message
“We are exercising our Constitutional right and privilege in casting
our ballot this Election Day,” Fincke said in the video.
WASHINGTON, Tuesday, Xinhua