recommended reading

What it's like to vote for President ... from space

Astronaut Leroy Chiao

Astronaut Leroy Chiao // NASA

Leroy Chiao holds a special distinction: Not only did the American astronaut fly on three shuttle flights and serve as the commander of the tenth expedition to the International Space Station; he is also the first person ever to vote for president from space. 

Chiao cast his ballot from the International Space Station during the 2004 campaign. And that makes him not just the first person to vote for president from zero gravity, but also one of only a handful of people ever to vote from beyond Earth's borders. In 1997, David Wolf became the first person to cast an absentee ballot from space; he voted in a Texas municipal election from the Mir space station. In 2008, Michael Fincke and Gregory Chamitoff used electronic ballots to vote in both local and national elections. As for yesterday's election, the two Americans aboard the ISS for the 2012 cycle -- Suni Williams and Kevin Ford -- took care of voting before they launched: They made their choices via terrestrial absentee ballot while they were stationed in Russia.

Chiao and his fellow space-voters benefitted from a bill passed in 1997 by Texas legislators, which established a procedure for astronauts -- most of whom reside in Houston -- to vote from space. (The bill was signed by then-governor George W. Bush.) The system uses the same email-based procedure employed by U.S. residents who live overseas at the time of an election. In Chiao's case, an electronic ballot, generated by the Galveston County Clerk's office, was emailed to his secure account at NASA's Johnson Space Center. Mission Control then transferred that email to the space station, and to Chiao within it, using a high-speed modem via satellite -- the same way astronauts receive all their emails while they're aboard the ISS.

Read more at The Atlantic

Threatwatch Alert

Thousands of cyber attacks occur each day

See the latest threats


Close [ x ] More from Nextgov

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • It’s Time for the Federal Government to Embrace Wireless and Mobility

    The United States has turned a corner on the adoption of mobile phones, tablets and other smart devices, outpacing traditional desktop and laptop sales by a wide margin. This issue brief discusses the state of wireless and mobility in federal government and outlines why now is the time to embrace these technologies in government.

  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

  • A New Security Architecture for Federal Networks

    Federal government networks are under constant attack, and the number of those attacks is increasing. This issue brief discusses today's threats and a new model for the future.

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

  • Software-Defined Networking

    So many demands are being placed on federal information technology networks, which must handle vast amounts of data, accommodate voice and video, and cope with a multitude of highly connected devices while keeping government information secure from cyber threats. This issue brief discusses the state of SDN in the federal government and the path forward.

  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.