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Is fear of violence after election day overblown?

FILE -- Melinda Tooley drops off her primary ballot at Midvale City Hall in Midvale on Tuesday, June 30, 2020. Photo: Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY – Businesses across the country are taking precautions in case there is violence after the 2020 presidential election. Many regular people are also nervous. But could their fears about election violence be overblown? 

BYU political science professor Richard Davis says social media can fan the flames of hate and make people feel like campaign season is endless. 

“The kind of partisanship that we see in a campaign, typically, it sort of subsides after a campaign is over. That’s not happening,” Davis says. 

However, Americans do not tend to be violent when elections don’t go their way. 

Planning to watch election results? It may take a while.

Davis says that’s because most realize there will be another election

“We’re not a country that tends to resort to violence in terms of getting our way politically because there’s a ballot box. There’s a way to express your concerns legitimately through the system, and most people use that,” Davis said. 

He also points out that many groups like Black Lives Matter are moving from the street to the political arena. 

And they are hoping to wield influence through who they elect. 

Davis says that makes the United States different from other countries around the world. 

“Our elections are typically pretty quiet. There’s not a lot of violence,” Davis says. “That’s the beauty of our system. People can make a difference in a non-violent way.” 


An Election Day role for National Guard? Maybe, but limited