Striking images of businesses boarded up for Election Day in 15 major US cities

National News

Workers erect a plywood wall Monday, Nov. 2, 2020, to protect a LEGO store in Rockefeller Center in New York, from possible vandalism ahead of Tuesday’s contentious presidential election. The moves come as retailers are trying to protect themselves against possible civil unrest in a year that has seen widespread protests over social justice that sometimes became violent. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

(NEXSTAR) — It used to be that Election Day meant your social media feed was crowded with images of friends showing off their “I voted” stickers, but as with so many other things, 2020 has upended what was once normal. Now photos are coming in from across the country showing a nation preparing for protest.

Though there has been no specific threat in most communities, ominous headlines about violence “warning signs” and militia uprisings circulating on the internet and a summer of racial tensions and unrest have made people extremely anxious about the outcome of the most divisive campaign in recent history.

One result of all that anxiety is a big jump in plywood sales as storefronts across the country are covered over to protect window displays and the merchandise inside.

The images below are a small sampling of precautions taken in major American cities ahead of Election Day 2020.

PORTLAND

A woman waits at a bus stop Monday, Nov. 2, 2020, in front of a boarded-up storefront as business owners prepare for possible unrest on election day in Portland, Ore. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

PHILADELPHIA

A man walks past a mural of Ruth Bader Ginsburg painted on a boarded-up business on the eve of the 2020 General Election in the United States, Monday, Nov. 2, 2020, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

LOS ANGELES

Laborers board up windows at the Le Jardin des Enfants preschool, Monday, Nov. 2, 2020, in downtown Los Angeles. Law enforcement across California is preparing for potential civil unrest in the hours during and the days following Election Day, regardless of who is declared the winner — and when it might happen. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

CHICAGO

NEW YORK

COLUMBUS

A man walks toward the boarded-up first floor entrance of Cinco restaurant on Monday, Nov. 2, 2020, in Columbus, Ohio. Some downtown businesses in Columbus boarded up glass windows and doors over the weekend in anticipation of possible election-related unrest. (AP Photo/Andrew Welsh-Huggins)

BOSTON

WASHINGTON

Pedestrians leave a business as it is boarded up in anticipation of unrest, Monday, Nov. 2, 2020, off a section of 16th Street renamed Black Lives Matter Plaza in Washington, on the day before the U.S. election.. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

SEATTLE

A pedestrian passes by as workers board up the windows of a Patagonia store in downtown Seattle, Monday, Nov. 2, 2020, the day before Election Day. Many businesses in the city boarded up windows Monday as a precaution against possible protests or violence on Election Day or the days following. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

DALLAS

SALT LAKE CITY

Workers board up the windows of Michael Kors in City Creek Center on Monday, Nov. 2, 2020, in Salt Lake City, ahead of Election Day amid worries about the potential for demonstrations and violent responses to the general election. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

MIAMI

MINNEAPOLIS

Boarded-up doors and windows outside the Hennepin County Government Center in downtown Minneapolis. Monday, Nov. 2, 2020, amid worries about the potential for demonstrations and violent responses to the general election.” (Leila Navidi/Star Tribune via AP)

DENVER

SAN FRANCISCO

A man walks past a boarded-up window at a Louis Vuitton store in San Francisco, Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020, ahead of Election Day. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

What makes this election different from those in the past are the swirling questions about voter intimidation, lawsuits and counting delays related to the coronavirus pandemic. President Donald Trump has already indicated he may reject the result of the election if he loses. The stage is set for a chaotic finish no matter what the final numbers say.

Trump has sought to undermine the election results for several months by raising debunked conspiracy theories about election fraud. He has repeatedly refused to say whether he would agree to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses.

Former Vice President Joe Biden has promised to accept the results no matter what, but that doesn’t mean that Democrats won’t end up in an extended court battle in certain states if things don’t go their way — particularly if there are any Election Day disruptions or court rulings that throw out a significant numbers of mail ballots.

Never before in modern U.S. history has there been such uncertainty looming over basic rules of democracy at the end of an election. Voters and communities on both sides are hoping that the conclusion of the 2020 race will return some sense of stability to American life.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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