Let's salute the quick-thinking staffers who grabbed the electoral ballots before rioters stormed the Senate
Grace Segers / Twitter

Yesterday at 2:30 pm the capitol building was quickly evacuated after rioting Trump supporters pushed their way through security and entered the building.

Congress was in the middle of a joint session to perform the ceremonial counting of the 2020 electoral votes when the breach occurred. In the rush to evacuate, quick-thinking U.S. Senate aides grabbed the ballot boxes to take them to safety.

The votes of every state are kept in ceremonial 18-inch by 10-inch mahogany boxes lined with leather.

If the boxes would have fallen into the hands of rioters, they would surely have been vandalized and possibly destroyed. Although it wouldn't have affected the results of the election, it would have been a gut punch to American democracy and a symbolic victory for the insurrection.

It would have also delayed the process of certifying the election.

The Federal Registrar also has digital copies of the ballots posted on the Electoral College webpage.

Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon saluted the actions of the aides on Twitter.

Senator Tammy Duckworth shared the story with CBS News.

Photos of the aides carrying the boxes to safety have gone viral on social media. They're a great reminder that even when our democracy is under threat, it will always stand strong because of brave people who carry on, even in the face of grave danger.