How do astronauts vote in space?

Ga. Teach astronaut Shane Kimbrough carried out his American duty from the International Space Station.

They can't just drive to the polls, and there's no post office at the International Space Station to mail an absentee ballot.

So how do astronauts vote in space during an election?

Well, 19 years ago Texas passed a state law that was signed by then-Gov. George W. Bush. The law made it possible for astronauts to vote in Texas' elections, since nearly all live there, while they are not on Earth. They can do it early or on the day of the election.

It became law in 1997 when a former Texas State senator was frustrated when astronauts living in his district could not vote while in space.

The law, known as Rule 81.35 allows people on a "space flight" to vote by allowing NASA to submit a secret ballot on behalf of the astronauts to the secretary of state's office. 

Before they leave, the astronauts let NASA know which elections they wish to participate in. They then receive a password protected ballot through email at the space station, according to The Atlantic. They fill it out, and send it back to the county clerk, who then fills their choices out on a regular ballot.

David Wolf was the first to participate in the process while he was in space in 1997.

Shane Kimbrough, who is currently in space and is from Georgia Tech, submitted his ballot early, according to NASA.

No, unfortunately, he did not get a sticker afterwards.

PHOTOS | Election day in America


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