“To sit back and let fate play its hand out and never influence it is not the way man was meant to operate.” — John Glenn
If you have ever found yourself wondering about voting in outer space, this is the blog post you have been looking for. In 1997 a law was passed in Texas that allowed astronauts to vote electronically while in outer space. This law states that “a person who meets the eligibility requirements of a voter under the Texas Election Code, Chapter 101, but who will be on a space flight during the early-voting period and on Election Day, may vote.”
Here are the processes astronauts must follow in order to vote:
Interestingly enough, these unique credentials sound fairly similar to how ElectionBuddy makes use of access keys!
There is no opportunity to procrastinate if you wish to vote in space since the process starts a year before the mission’s launch. If the astronaut does not select the elections they wish to participate in, in advance, they will be unable to participate. Once the astronauts are in space procrastinating still isn’t advised because there can be a 20-minute communication delay between the space station and Earth. The astronauts do their part in order to ensure that their vote will be counted.
If you would like to watch a short video on voting in outer space you can view it here.
Apparently, this voting process isn’t much different than absentee voting. The biggest difference is the fact that in outer space they have to list their address as “low-Earth orbit.” Perhaps one day this legislation will reach further than just Texas. There is the potential for this law to extend to civilians based on the fact that space hotels are on the horizon.
The processes that have been put in place to allow voting in outer space shows the importance of remote voting and how there is always a way to go and have your voice heard in the voting process.
“Young people need to vote. They need to get out there. Every vote counts. Educate yourself too. Don’t just vote. Know what you’re voting for, and stand by that.” - Nikki Reed
I remember my mother always being actively engaged in the idea of democracy and voting since I was at least seven years old. As far as I know, she has never missed voting in an election and volunteered her time at the polling stations for the election that took place last April. But, with that said, I didn’t really pay much attention to the idea of voting until my Grade 11 Social Studies class. My teacher (let’s call him Mr.French) was quirky, but he was also so passionate about voting.
One of the anecdotes I remember him telling consisted of a conversation between his grandpa, his brother, and himself when they were around the ages of 3-5:
Grandpa: So now that I’ve given you some time to think about it, what do you want to be when you grow up?
Brother: I want to be a fire truck!
Mr. French: I don’t know what I want to be but I want to be voting!
Mr. French was taught from a young age the importance of voting and I am positive that, to this day, he has never missed voting in an election since he gained the ability to do so. He taught us that it is important to get out and vote. Clearly, this is a leasson that has begun to reach the masses considering that in Alberta (where our Canadian office is located) the last provincial election had a voter turnout of 64%. This is the highest turnout since 1982!!
The most important aspect of voting Mr. French taught me was that no matter who you vote for your vote still matters. With this knowledge in my head, I was excited when I was able to vote in 2015. A surprising amount of people I talk to have the mentality of “why should I vote, my vote will not make a difference.” But if everyone with that mentality voted I guarantee it would make a difference.
Interestingly, there is a party that exists in Canada for people who do want to vote but don’t necessarily want to vote for any of the running parties. This party is The Rhinoceros Party of Canada (which I did first hear about in my Grade 11 Social Studies class). The Rhino Party was created in 2006 and promises to not keep any of their promises if they are elected.When we did a fake federal election across my highschool - The Rhino Party won by a landslide, proving that The Rhino Party is for people who want to vote but either have no idea what is going on or they don’t like any of the other options. One of The Rhino Party’s most recent promises is that they “want more green cars on the road, including dark green, pale green and fluorescent green cars. In fact, the party wants fluorescent green to be Canada’s national colour.”
The fact of the matter is if you can vote you should vote! Voting makes a difference on all levels and it is important to have a say within your government, your organizations, your school, etc..
“Elections belong to the people. It’s their decision. If they decide to turn their back on the fire and burn their behinds, then they will just have to sit on their blisters.”
“You don’t have to fool all the people all of the time; you just have to fool enough to get elected.”
— Gerald Barzan