This Election Day looks different. Federal officials on Monday erected "non-scalable" fencing around the White House in anticipation of protests, per ABC News. Some businesses are following suit. "If you go downtown, everything is boarded up," a manager at Commercial Glass Door Repair in Washington, DC, tells the Washington Post. "It's never been like this before." Such scenes extend far beyond the capital to cities including New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Minneapolis, Seattle, Dallas, Denver, and Salt Lake City. In Beverly Hills, every one of Rodeo Drive's 70 high-end shops and businesses have been boarded up, per the Post. "It's a shame. No reason for it," President Trump said of looters and rioters in an interview with Fox & Friends on Tuesday, per Newsmax, predicting any violence would occur in Democrat-run cities due to "weak, weak leadership."
But violence on Election Day or shortly after is a concern for 75% of voters, according to a recent USA Today/Suffolk University poll. Declining trust in institutions and "heights of polarization" in a country "that is already on edge over so many other issues from racial injustice to the pandemic" creates cause for concern, Neil Bradley, executive vice president of the US Chamber of Commerce, tells USA Today. However, "we hope this is a lot like Y2K with a lot of discussion about something that just never really happens." Tiffany, Saks Fifth Avenue, CVS, Target and Macy's have boarded up storefronts in select locations in case Bradley's hopes aren't realized, per CTV News. Retailers already hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic and months of civil unrest have also taken other steps to prevent looting, including hiring extra security. (Read more Election Day stories.)