Space station becomes polling place

Nov. 2, 2010 at 3:51 PM
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HOUSTON, Nov. 2 (UPI) -- Americans can vote from all over the world, but for two registered U.S. voters who happen to work for NASA, it's more like an out of this world.

Cmdr. Edward Michael Fincke and Flight Engineer and Science Officer Greg Chamitoff cast their votes Tuesday from 220 miles above the Earth in the International Space Station, a NASA release said.

A secure electronic ballot, uplinked from NASA's Johnson Space Center Mission Control Center in Houston, can be accessed by Fincke and Chamitoff, who cast their votes and downlinked the ballot to Houston, after which an e-mail to the Harris and Brazoria County Clerk's office recorded their votes.

Texas legislators set up the procedure for astronauts -- nearly all of whom live in Houston -- to vote from space in a 1997 bill.

As other Americans exercised their franchise, the two did so while traveling 17,500 mph -- a bit fast for stopping at a local polling place.

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