Eerie Footage Shows Major U.S. Cities Boarding Up In Preparation For Election Day Fallout

"I never thought I would see [this]".

Businesses across US board up before election, fearing unrest

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Ahead of the U.S. presidential election this Tuesday (Wednesday in Australia), stores across major cities are boarding up their entrances, fearing damage due to potential unrest after President Trump said he would try to stop vote counting early if he was winning.

Across New York, Washington D.C., Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago and San Francisco, retailers are pre-emptively protecting their businesses from any protests or civil unrest. As per NPR, this is against most city recommendations given that the boarding itself could act as an inciting sign for unrest, suggesting that major corporations don’t expect a peaceful potential transfer of power.

One exception is D.C., where the business district advised companies to “take precautions such as securing outdoor furniture and signage that can be used as a projectile”. An additional high-scale fence has also been erected around the White House, as previously seen during the height of Black Lives Matter protests earlier this year.

Trump has repeatedly implied he would challenge any election result that wasn’t a sweeping win for himself (which polling says is unlikely, though most polling also didn’t predict his 2016 win). The president has continually undermined mail-in ballots, of which more than 94 million Americans have sent in (nearly 70 per cent of how many Americans voted in 2016), claiming mass voter fraud — a claim with no proof.

Given the record amount of mail-in votes and that several key states will not begin to count mail-in votes until polls close on November 3, counting is expected to take significantly longer than usual this year. With mail-in votes traditionally leaning Democratic (and Trump repeatedly undermining their credibility), it’s expected that in-person votes may disproportionately skew Republican.

Political journalists and pundits are projecting that it’s entirely possible the election results will be contested all the way to the Supreme court, as the Republicans are likely to attempt to have as many mail-in votes invalidated as they can (as detailed in NYT’s The Daily podcast). It’s possible the ultimate winner may not be known for weeks, especially if the election is close. As a result, businesses are clearly worried about unrest regardless of the result.

On Monday, Trump supporters surrounded a Biden campaign bus in the key electoral state of Florida, reportedly attempting to block it and ram it off the road. In the aftermath, two Biden rallies were cancelled. Trump, meanwhile, has said the blockade “did nothing wrong”, calling them patriots.

Last week, Walmart removed guns from public display in its stores citing civil unrest after police fatally shot a Black man in Philadelphia. Under pressure, they reversed the decision.

The images and footage of stores boarding up ahead of an election has caused many on social media to pause, questioning whether America is the shining beacon of democracy it purports to be.

For those eager to follow along with the US election from Australia, ABC journalist Matt Bevan has tweeted a guide to key states will close voting, converted to Australian timezones.

Find more footage of various boarded up U.S. cities below.