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    Here’s The Story Behind Those Viral Photos Of Women Carrying The Ballot Boxes From The Capitol

    The Senate aides carried out the ballot boxes before the Capitol was breached.

    Yesterday, the United States endured an unprecedented attack on democracy in the form of a pro-Trump riot on the Capitol while Congress was certifying Joe Biden and Kamala Harris's electoral win.

    A horde of rioters pushing their way into the Capitol as they hold U.S. flags emblazoned with Trump's name
    Win McNamee / Getty Images

    Biden and Harris are set to be sworn into office as president and vice president in 13 days. The certification is largely a ceremonial formality, and though some GOP senators planned (and did) vote against the certification, it did not have a chance of overturning Biden's win.

    The effects of the riot have been disastrous — four are dead, the Capitol has been vandalized, and faith in American democracy is wavering.

    Tasos Katopodis / Getty Images

    Congress did reconvene and certify Biden and Harris's win early this morning.

    People have looked for any small symbols of hope from Wednesday. One set of photos, show female senate pages and chamber assistants carrying the Electoral College ballot boxes, went viral.

    Caroline Brehman / Getty Images

    Some people incorrectly thought the photo depicted the women saving the boxes from the attempted coup. It has since become clear that the photos of the Senate pages were taken before the riot breached the Capitol.

    Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images

    According to photojournalist Caroline Brehman, who was on the scene, her photo was taken around 12:57 p.m., while the rioters didn't break into the Capitol until about 1:15 p.m.

    According to the United States Senate website, pages are appointed and sponsored by senators, and must be high school juniors of at least 16 years of age who attend school. According to Business Insider, some of the aides who assisted in transporting the boxes were part of Senate parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough's staff, though the specific members have not been identified.

    Many remarked that losing these ballots would have allowed people to cast further doubt on the legitimacy of the election, and were likely a target for the rioters.

    Erin Scott - Pool / Getty Images

    While there were also digital copies of the states' electoral vote counts, the destruction of the hard copies would likely have delayed the certification of Biden's win.

    You can read more about this story at BuzzFeed News.


    This post has been updated to reflect new information about the timeline of the ballot boxes being moved.