An astronaut who is floating 250 miles above the earth on Election Day was successfully able to cast his absentee ballot.
Astronaut Drew Morgan, a resident of Neshannock Township, Pennsylvania, cast his ballot in Tuesday’s election through a collaborative effort between NASA and the Lawrence County Department of Voter Services, according to the New Castle News.
Voter Services Director Ed Allison said he received the ballot request in the spring and was surprised to see the address of the voter.
“He had actually sent us a voter registration and absentee ballot request with all the pertinent data, his address,” Allison said. “We checked his address and he is a registered voter here in the county.
“As I kept reading it said where to sent the ballot to — it says ‘International Space Station, low Earth orbit.’ I said, ‘What?’” he said.
Allison explained that after getting calls and emails from NASA he knew that his department had to “get this done.”
He and his team went to work to create PDF file that would allow Morgan to simply click a button next to the name of who he wanted to vote for. The ballot was then beamed back to earth.
“I thought, well, that is pretty cool,” said the county’s director of information technology, Rick DiBello. “I’ve never done anything like that before. I’ve worked with those files before, but not for anything like that.”
Allison said that the ballot was sent in two different emails, one with the ballot and one with a secure password that Morgan would use to cast his vote.
“Astronaut Morgan acknowledged receipt,” Allison said. “Therefore, we expected a ballot back and we did get it on Oct. 10.”
The whole process took one month.
Included with Morgan’s ballot was a message and a photo from his first spacewalk on the ISS.
“Dear Mr. Allison: Thank you for facilitating my vote from on board the International Space Station. Cordially, Andrew R. Morgan, COL, US Army, US Segment Lead, International Space Station,” the message read.