Astronaut Andrew Morgan successfully voted in Tuesday's elections in his home state of Pennsylvania, and if you skipped the process as too much of a hassle, consider what he had to do to be counted. His ballot was cast from aboard the International Space Station, election officials said Tuesday -- high above the planet and a pretty long haul from his designated polling location,
Ed Allison, the director of Lawrence County’s Department of Voter Services, told The New Castle News that he received Morgan's absentee ballot application in the spring. He thought nothing of it until he saw the rookie astronaut's voting location: "International Space Station, low orbit."
“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."
The space station orbits around 250 miles above Earth and serves as a home and science lab to astronauts from various countries. Morgan, a U.S. Army emergency physician, blasted off into space in July from Kazakhstan, on the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.
“After the NASA contact sent me the first couple of emails with all of her credentials as well as naming Mr. Morgan and knowing he had been featured in the newspaper," Allison said, "I didn’t have any doubt anymore. I said, ‘We have to get this done.’”
Rick DiBello, the county’s director of IT, created a PDF file for Morgan, who serves as a flight engineer aboard the space station, with a list of candidates. All he had to do was click a circle next to the person he wanted to support.
“I thought, well, that is pretty cool,” DiBello said. “I’ve never done anything like that before. I’ve worked with those files before, but not for anything like that.”
The ballot was sent to Morgan in separate emails on Sept 10. Election officials based at the Lawrence County Courthouse received the completed ballot on Oct. 10 along with a photo of Morgan.
“Dear Mr. Allison: Thank you for facilitating my vote from on board the International Space Station," read a message from the astronaut. "Cordially, Andrew R. Morgan, COL, US Army, US Segment Lead, International Space Station.”