For Maine resident Laura Hunter, preparing for Election Day does not involve creating a voting plan. He chose two weeks early.
Instead, to prepare for November 3, he prepared what some Americans see as the worst-case scenario: civil unrest or widespread violence after Tuesday’s presidential election. For about a month now, Hunter, who voted for Democrat Joe Biden, has been building up a supply of food and cash. He even bought a butane stove when the power went out.
“I have what I think I need for a week or so,” Hunter, 65, said.
In Arlington, Va., Maresa Ciaravella, a 30-year-old mother, has confirmed that her and her husband’s car has a full tank of fuel in case they need to evacuate on short notice.
Ciaravella and her husband are working remotely because of the pandemic. They each have extensive home office settings, and their son attends child care. All of that makes it impossible to go somewhere that might feel safer ahead of the election, Ciaravella said.
“We are not sure where we are going or even what will be our ‘tipping point’, but we at least want to be ready with the option of going,” Ciaravella said. “This year has shown that anything is possible and that nothing is wrong, so being prepared for anything has become very important to us.”
Ciaravella, who said she could not disclose who she chose because of her job, said some of her concern stems from witnessing other protests recently, including those related to the Black Lives Matter movement and the push to reopen businesses in Virginia and Maryland amid the virus pandemic corona.
“The safety of my child is my first priority and I never thought that the presidential election would scare me for his safety,” he said. “It might just highlight my privileges, but it’s true.”
Hunter, on the other hand, pointed to President Donald Trump’s recent rhetoric as a source of concern, arguing that the president wanted to “turn all his supporters into a frenzy.”
Americans worry about possible election-related violence
Concern about electoral violence appears to be pervasive – according to at least one poll. YouGov survey of 1,500 Americans released in early October found that more than half of the respondents expected to see election violence. Republicans are slightly more likely than Democrats to say they expect increased violence.
Other research has shown that the percentage of Americans who believe violence is justified to advance their party’s goals has increased in both Democrats and Republicans.
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Universities, retailers and banks are preparing for a possible riot
Some Americans may take their cue to prepare for potential protests and riots from large corporations and local institutions. In Washington, DC, colleges including George Washington University, have warned students and faculty to prepare for potential protests by storing food and other necessities in their dorm rooms or homes.
The university is following a directive by the city government, which calls on regional businesses to “prepare for a very active election season,” said Crystal Nosal, assistant director of media relations at George Washington University. She noted that the university has sent similar messages ahead of events including the Fourth of July, the last presidential inauguration and the Women’s March.
“Our goal is to help our campus community plan ahead for any potential disruptions that may occur during the election period,” said Nosal.
change direction and returning ammunition and firearms to the display shop after moving the items last weekend “after civil unrest,” the company said. The product in question is still available for purchase, but is not publicly displayed.
The bank is considering closing branches across the country. Chase Bank
plans to monitor the public’s response to the election and “prepare to close branches if necessary,” said Amy Bonitatibus, Chase’s head of communications. Truist
formed last year from the merger of SunTrust and BB&T, has closed some of its more than 2,000 bank branches “out of concern” in areas where other nearby businesses have temporarily closed, said Cynthia Montgomery, Truist’s director of communications for the retail community banking division.
A Wells Fargo
The spokesman said that the bank had closed windows of “a small number of branch locations in certain cities,” but these branches remained open for business unless they were closed due to the pandemic.
‘This is not a natural disaster. This is an election. ‘
Michelle Sawicki, a Biden supporter living in Las Vegas, said she had the idea of gathering pre-election supplies on her mind for a while. But he was inspired to take action after he saw several local businesses close their windows and speak to clerks at a local grocery store who had been conducting active shooter drills specifically in preparation for the election.
“It’s very strange living in such a careful place as if we were on track for a hurricane or some kind of natural disaster,” said Sawicki, 53. “This is not a natural disaster. This is an election in the first world country which is a democracy. “
Adding to Sawicki’s concern is the fact that she has only lived in Las Vegas for about a year and doesn’t see what usually happens during the general elections in Nevada. He also expressed concern about whether he could rely on the police if he was put in a risky situation.
“I see a lot of police unions supporting Donald Trump, and I’m concerned because I’m on the left side of things that the police can’t do,” he said. So far, Sawicki said, he had raised enough cash, gasoline, food and prescription drugs to last about two weeks.
What financial planners say about how to prepare your finances
While election-related anxiety may drive some to prepare for the worst, financial experts have warned that Americans shouldn’t take any steps to change their long-term financial plans just because of the election.
“Long-term investment decisions should not be based on short-term events and emotions,” said Gage Paul, a certified financial planner with Western Reserve Capital Management in Hudson, Ohio.
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For those concerned about how others will respond to the election results, Paul advises providing food or water in case of extreme weather, or, for those who can afford it, considering moving to a vacation home for a few days.
And if people are concerned about possible property damage, they might want to consider have financial goals ready, including a photo of their house or car before the election in case they need to file an insurance claim related to a hypothetical event that could occur.