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Tags Current Affairs

Astronauts voting from space

Date: 28 September 2020 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

NASA astronaut Kate Rubins, who will be aboard the International Space Station (ISS) on the day of the US presidential elections, will cast her vote from space.

 

Background

Aboard the ISS, missions can last for over six months, and American astronauts have been able to cast their vote via a special absentee ballot system.

 

Details

  • In 1997, a bill passed by the Texas legislatures established the technical voting process for astronauts, all of whom live in Texas and gave them the ability to vote remotely from space.

  • In the 2016 presidential elections, astronauts Edward Michael Fincke and Greg Chamitoff, who were living and working onboard the ISS, cast their vote by accessing a secure secret ballot.

  • In 1997, NASA’s David Wolf became the first astronaut to cast his using this provision while he was aboard the Russian Space Station Mir.

  • The rule states that a person who is on a space flight during the early-voting period or on election day can vote by this method provided they apply by a Federal Postcard Application (FPCA).

  • A day before US Election Day, an encrypted electronic ballot is uplinked to the astronauts, who then use a set of unique credentials that are sent to them individually by e-mail.

  • In this way, they can access their ballots and after casting their vote, they downlink them back to Earth to the county clerk’s office.

 

Absentee voting system in India

Only certain categories of people are eligible to register as postal voters. The Representation of the People Act-1950[47] (RPA) section 20(8) allows postal ballots for:

  • People on polling duty

  • Members of the armed forces and state police as well as their wives

  • Employees of the Government of India who are officially posted abroad

  • The President

  • People in preventive detention, 

  • Disabled and those above the age of 65 years old can use postal vote. 

  • Prisoners can not vote at all.
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