KEY POINTS

  • Kate Rubins has voted from the international space station by routing an electronic ballot through ground control
  • Other voters back in the U.S. face disease, voter suppression and intimidation while trying to file their ballots
  • A rash of incidents have sprung up around early voting, as Trump supporters make voting more difficult with disruptive and often armed demonstrations

NASA astronaut Kate Rubins has sent in a remote ballot from the international space station, marking another difficult but successful vote in an election full of them.

Down on Earth and in the country of the United States, voters are braving COVID-19, voter suppression and intimidation to get to the polls even before Election Night.

This handout photo released on October 22, 2020 by NASA shows International Space Station crew member Kate Rubins pointing to a sign reading "ISS voting booth This handout photo released on October 22, 2020 by NASA shows International Space Station crew member Kate Rubins pointing to a sign reading "ISS voting booth" Photo: NASA / -

Rubins, 42, made use of a secure electronic ballot, TMZ reports. Rubins is a Connecticut native and raised in California but since NASA's mission is based in Houston, she’s a Texas voter. The clerk in Harris County sent a secure electronic ballot via mission control all the way up to the space station for Rubins to fill out. 

"I think it's really important for everybody to vote," Rubins said in a video. "And if we can do it from space, then I believe folks can do it from the ground, too."

Astronauts have been allowed to vote since 1996, and Rubins has voted once before on the ISS in the 2016 presidential election. Rubins used her unusual process as an example to other U.S. voters facing more conventional challenges on the importance of voting.

There has been heightened attention in 2020 over voter suppression, early voting and mail-in ballots. More than 50 million people have voted with the election 11 days away.