Astronaut casts his Pennsylvania absentee ballot from space
© Getty Images

An astronaut currently in the International Space Station took time for his civic duty back on Earth by casting his Pennsylvania absentee ballot on Tuesday.

Drew Morgan was able to submit his ballot in Lawrence County from about 250 miles above the planet, according to the New Castle News.

The ballot was successfully turned in thanks to a collaborative effort between the county’s Department of Voter Services office and NASA.

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Ed Allison, director of voter services for Lawrence County, told the New Castle News that he thought he was receiving a normal request for an absentee ballot back in the spring — until he looked at the voting location.

“He had actually sent us a voter registration and absentee ballot request with all the pertinent data, his address. We checked his address and he is a registered voter here in the county,” Allison said. “As I kept reading it said where to sent the ballot to — it says ‘International Space Station, low Earth orbit.’”

“I started to get calls from NASA, and I was still somewhat skeptical,” he added. “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, I didn’t have any doubt anymore. I said, ‘We have to get this done.’”

Morgan's voting was made possible because the county IT director set up a secure email and password and a fillable PDF file that he received at the space station, filled out and sent back.

When Morgan sent back the completed ballot, he included a short message thanking the office for making it all possible, along with a picture from his first spacewalk. 

“In the 11 years I have been here it is certainly unique. I don’t know that it is going to happen again in the near future. But, obviously, technology advances," Allison said. "If space travel becomes an ordinary activity — yes, we will end up doing more of this. We will have to figure out how to do it in a better way. We got it done, but I am sure we can clean up the process.”