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.