In an exclusive interview with DailyMail.com, Dmitriy Belyavskiy claimed Los Angeles County staff were politically biased and acted unconstitutionally when they kicked him out of a polling center where he was volunteering last week.
He said he was singled out while the county failed to take action against other election workers with left-wing or liberal political clothing, including a county staffer with a Black Lives Matter mask.
The 45-year-old Uzbekistan-born US citizen said he has volunteered as a poll worker in elections since 2007 – and has been a diehard Trump fan for just as long.
Belyavskiy worked as an elections reservist last week, manning polling stations and helping voters cast their ballots in the gubernatorial recall election while dressed head to toe in Trump memorabilia.
Dmitriy Belyavskiy, 45, is the California poll worker who was fired last week for wearing a pro-Trump outfit at the Gavin Newsom recall election
Belyavskiy told DailyMail.com in an exclusive interview that Los Angeles County staff were politically biased and acted unconstitutionally
One voter posted a photo of him on Twitter and several others took offense to his outlandish outfit and complained to the county, which fired him last Tuesday.
But Belyavskiy says he acted within California rules, which ban ‘electioneering’ within 100 feet of a polling station, defined as ‘the visible display or audible dissemination of information that advocates for or against any candidate or measure on the ballot.’
‘I was wearing the Donald Trump outfit in every place I was assigned. People complained but I was cleared by the county representatives,’ the 45-year-old high school tutor said.
‘It’s absolutely and perfectly legal. The vote.net site clearly states according to California law electioneering has to involve a person on the ballot, or a measure. Donald Trump is not on the ballot and obviously he’s not a measure. So that’s what I call an infringement of civil rights.
‘I pretty much knew it was going to happen but I said I’m not going to back down. It’s my personal right to express myself.’
Belyavskiy, who grew up in Soviet Russia, said the incident left him feeling like he was back in the USSR.
‘Like Joseph Stalin said, it’s not who’s voting that matters, it’s the one who’s counting the votes,’ he told DailyMail.com.
‘People are scared. If you’re Republican you’ve got to be in the closet, let alone wearing a Trump outfit. It’s the same thing as the old Soviet Union. It’s like being gay 30 years ago.’
Belyavskiy said he left his home city of Tashkent, Uzbekistan age 19, fleeing communist oppression and anti-Semitism.
‘When I graduated I hated the country, I hated the system, so I left. I hated how they treated Jews, the anti-Semitism. I was called a k*ke ever since I was seven years old.
‘When I was a little kid during the Soviet-Afghan war I saw Russian troops rolling through with tanks,’ he added.
‘A distant uncle was a red army colonel. He told me how the Soviets used their soldiers like livestock, like they were expendable.’
Belyavskiy said he threw himself into American life after emigrating and even served in the U.S. Army.
A Twitter user posted the photo last Tuesday. By the end of the day, the viral photo had prompted the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk to pull the poll worker from the job
The 45-year-old Uzbekistan-born US citizen said he has volunteered as a poll worker in elections since 2007 and has been a diehard Trump fan for just as long. Belyavskiy said he is the former president’s biggest fan, and regularly wears his full closet of MAGA memorabilia when out hiking in Los Angeles
Belyavskiy provided DailyMail.com parking passes issued by LA County for his work volunteering at poll centers in previous elections. Belyavskiy said he has volunteered in dozens of elections for the county
Belyavskiy began volunteering in elections around 2007 and he was later promoted to the role of ‘reservist’ in his voluntary role for the county. His parking passes are pictured
He began volunteering in elections around 2007 through a program at a West Hollywood private school where he taught K-12 children chess and various academic subjects.
He was later promoted to the role of ‘reservist’ in his voluntary role for the county, and was paid a stipend to help process voters at polling stations during elections over the past 14 years.
Belyavskiy, who grew up in Soviet Russia, said the incident left him feeling like he was back in the USSR. He’s pictured in a much younger, undated photo
It was also back in 2007 that Trump won Belyavskiy’s heart when he first stumbled across the reality show The Apprentice.
‘I’ve loved Trump ever since The Apprentice in 2007,’ he said. ‘I’ve had Trump neckties since they came out. I love his style, the way he talks. None of this sugar-coating crap, he’s straightforward ‘you’re fired’.
‘When he was talking about illegals, calling a spade a spade, the economy and China stealing our property, it was all stuff I was thinking. He talks about stuff that’s dear to my heart.
‘He’s a very nice guy, a generous guy. He’s a little bit soft for me, but he’s the best that we’ve had since Ronald Reagan.’
Belyavskiy said he is the former president’s biggest fan, and regularly wears his full closet of MAGA memorabilia when out hiking in Los Angeles.
So when it came to the election to recall California Governor Gavin Newsom, the former teacher said it was only natural for him to don his Trump t-shirt, hat, socks, and bracelet.
Belyavskiy told DailyMail.com he specifically asked county workers during poll workers’ eight-hour training for the recall whether his politically-charged attire would be acceptable in his role.
‘I asked, can you be specific what electioneering is?’ he said. ‘The great Ronald Reagan is not with us any more sadly, he was the president, or Bill Clinton, he barely moves but he’s still alive, he used to be president but he’s not running for anything else. Can it be electioneering if I wear a Ronald Reagan t-shirt?
‘The person who was doing the training said if I want to come tomorrow wearing a Hillary Clinton t-shirt, or Obama, sure go ahead. They redirected it to Hillary and Obama. But in any case it was a green light – if the person is not on the ballot, if the person is not running for anything, go ahead.
‘I asked them, what about political organizations like Antifa, Proud Boys, Black Lives Matter, they said yeah sure.’
His MAGA outfits sparked comments at the stations he worked at in Pacific Palisades, Burbank, and Woodland Hills for four days of early voting, but no official crackdown.
He said he drew the ire of some voters when he wore a stars and stripes-themed costume on 9/11 to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Twin Towers terror attack, and when he wore a blue and white ‘I stand with Israel’ t-shirt during the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah.
But on the last day of voting in West Hollywood last Tuesday morning, Belyavskiy said a senior county staffer arrived and told him his job was over and he had to leave or she would call the police.
‘I was wearing my black Trump hat, a MAGA t-shirt and on the back it has Trump’s quote that ‘America will never be a socialist country’, and I was wearing Trump socks,’ he said.
‘They told me to leave. I told her it’s unconstitutional, you’re abusing power, it’s unconstitutional and it’s an infringement of my civil rights.
‘She said we’ll call the Sheriff, they’re going to remove you. I said if you remove me from my duties, I’m not representing the county any more, I’m a regular citizen and how can you remove me from the polling place as a citizen?’
He said he was singled out while no action was taken against other election workers with left-wing or liberal political clothing. Belyavskiy works as a high school tutor
Tuesday was the final day Californians could vote in a recall election to see if Gov. Gavin Newsom should be removed. The Democrat held office in a landslide
Eventually Belyavskiy backed down and left, he said, but is still fuming and wants to find a civil rights attorney to sue the county.
The tutor added that he believes county staffers showed favoritism by failing to also police other clothing he described as political, including another poll worker wearing a Black Lives Matter face mask.
‘She was wearing a collage photos mask with the photos of everyone who resisted the arrest, including George Floyd in the middle of the collage,’ he said.
‘I never had a problem with her wearing it despite that I strongly and factually consider BLM as terrorists, Marxists and anti-Semitic. But if you stand for the First Amendment and defend free speech, you don’t just defend the speech that you like but the speech that you don’t like or even hate as well.
‘Having said that, if her Black Lives Matter mask with Floyd in the middle is not political, then how is my Trump attire?’
After the firing, the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk issued a statement on Twitter.
‘The election worker was contacted and advised that the attire was inappropriate and unacceptable,’ the county clerk’s office tweeted Tuesday.
‘Based on his response and reports that other workers had previously counseled him on this, he was released and is no longer working at the vote center.’
The county did not respond to a request for comment by DailyMail.com.
The firing was seemingly prompted by Twitter user Frank K. Santoyo’s viral picture of Belyavskiy on Monday wearing a Trump 2020 hat and a Trump campaign t-shirt with the slogan ‘Where’s Hunter?’ a reference to President Joe Biden’s troubled son Hunter.
The man who took the photo told FOX 11 the picture was taken at Plummer Park in West Hollywood a little before 6.15 p.m. Monday.
Tuesday was the final day Californians could vote in a recall election to see if Governor Gavin Newsom should be removed. The Democrat held office in a landslide.
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