Wednesday, November 05, 2008

American astronauts cast votes in space

Two American astronauts currently in space already have voted and urged their Earth-bound compatriots to do the same in a message broadcast by NASA Tuesday.

Fincke and ISS Flight Engineer and Science Officer Greg Chamitoff, orbiting the Earth at an altitude of some 354 kilometers (220 miles), cast their votes by secure digital transmission on Monday, NASA officials said.

Mission Control at Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas shipped digital ballots to the space voters, and local election officials sent passwords directly to them.

The ballots were returned, encrypted, via Mission Control.

Election officials worked closely with NASA to make sure Americans in space can vote, and vote confidentially.

An American astronaut voted from space for the first time in 1997, from the Russian Space Station Mir, and since then a total of four Americans have voted in space.

A Texas law establishing special procedures for space voting was passed in 1997, NASA said.



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