US prepares for possible unrest after Election Day

2020 Election

CHICAGO (NewsNation Now) — Storefronts across the country are being boarded up as officials planned for possible unrest on and after Election Day.


Businesses in Manhattan took precautions ahead of Election Day.

Some businesses boarded up their windows, including Macy’s flagship store in Herald Square and high-end retailers in SoHo in New York City, and elsewhere, ahead of possible civil unrest.

New York police asked business owners to clear sidewalks of items that could be used as barricades or projectiles, like chairs, tables, construction barrels and trash cans.


Across California, merchants are covering their doors and windows with plywood as police agencies promise a beefed-up presence on the street amid worries about the potential for demonstrations and violent responses to the general election.

In Los Angeles, the famed Rodeo Drive of Beverly Hills will be closed to cars and pedestrians beginning Monday night. Businesses like the Mikimoto jewelry store, Nordstrom, Tiffany and Saks Fifth Avenue have been boarded up — some painted over so the wood isn’t so conspicuous — and the city has contracted with 80 armed security guards.

In San Francisco, several businesses could be seen with boards covering windows in anticipation of civil unrest, including in front of the Westin St. Francis hotel off of Union Square.

“There is a lot of anxiety about what might happen.  In times past, we have seen rioters come to the city and these businesses impacted.  They have lost thousands of dollars, and with COVID, no one can afford to lose anymore, so this action has been taken.  not that they want to but it is preventative,” said San Francisco chamber of commerce Jay Cheng.

Bay Area police departments have said they will have extra officers working election night.


In anticipation of protests related to the 2020 U.S. election, more fencing was added to the perimeter of the White House.

Construction vehicles are seen behind anti-scaling fencing on Pennsylvania Ave in front to the White House, Monday, Nov. 2, 2020, in Washington, on the day before the U.S. election. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Businesses in Washington, D.C. are also preparing by boarding up storefronts and windows to prevent property damage.

Federal authorities have installed more barriers and temporary modular homes inside Lafayette Park, which is just north of the White House.

The Metropolitan Police Department said a handful of groups have applied for demonstration permits on Election Day and the following days.

Last week, Mayor Muriel Bowser issued parking restrictions and road closures around the White House for November 3.


Oregon Gov. Kate Brown on Monday put the National Guard on standby for a 48-hour period around Election Day and used her executive authority to activate a unified command of state troopers, sheriff’s deputies and Portland police to handle any protests.

“We’ve seen firsthand what happens when free expression is fueled by hate,” the Democratic governor said. “We know that there are some people who might want to use peaceful election night protests to promote violence and property destruction,”

The unified command began at 5 p.m. Monday and will end at 5 p.m. Wednesday. It can be extended if necessary, Brown said.


Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker activated up to 1,000 members of the state’s National Guard as a precaution ahead of the presidential election. Monday’s decision was made as an effort to maintain public safety for Tuesday’s election.

Gov. Baker’s administration said there is no indication of any public safety risk in Massachusetts but they are making resources available if need be, NewsNation afffiliate WWLP reported.

“We’ve heard from a number of our colleagues in local government who’ve asked us to make the guard available if need be sort of later in the week, but the goal here is to really be supportive of local communities,” said Gov. Baker.


Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker confirmed that the National Guard is on standby to respond, but only if necessary.

Chicago Mayor Lightfoot has said between 60 and 300 city “infrastructure assets” will be on standby as part of the “neighborhood protection plan.”

Chicago police officers have been preparing for the election for months, NewsNation affiliate WGN reported. The department held an additional First Amendment training for officers Monday evening.

“This training is highlighting our commitment to ensuring those who choose to exercise in their first amendment rights can do so safely,” said 18th District Commander Jill Stevens. “Our officers will always work to peacefully resolve any tension that may arise while also protecting the lives of our residents and visitors.”


Gov. Greg Abbott said last week Texas would be prepared to respond to any unrest on or after November 3, but that the Texas National Guard would not have a role in the election process.

“Our job is to make sure cities are going to be safe,” he said. “Those decisions will be made on an as-needed basis.” 

On Monday, several businesses in downtown Austin boarded up before Election Day.

Photos taken by NewsNation affiliate KXAN show the United States Postal Service location, a 7-Eleven convenience store and Total Men’s Primary Care boarded up with plywood.


Commercial and residential buildings across the Denver metro prepared for unrest ahead of the presidential election. Law enforcement agencies also encouraged property managers to plan ahead.

Windows throughout the central core of Denver have been boarded up as business owners prepare for uncertainty this week. Late on the eve of Election Day, more boards were being set in place along Denver’s 16th Street Mall. 

Meanwhile, Denver police have been urging businesses to make a plan and prepare for the worst.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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