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Election news from across Utah's statewide and national races in 2020.

Utah Business Owners Breathe Easier After Bracing For Election Night Unrest

A photo of the Sale Lake City Branch of the Federal Reserve.
Kelsie Moore
The Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco — which oversees a district of nine western states, including Utah — chose to cover the windows of its Salt Lake City branch with plywood on Tuesday in anticipation of election night unrest.

Wasatch Front business owners were relieved this morning after preparing for election night unrest that never came to fruition.

In Salt Lake City, major retailers such as Nordstrom and Tiffany & Co. at the City Creek Shopping Center and the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco all decided to board up their windows Tuesday.

“We are taking these actions out of an abundance of caution, not because of any specific threat,” a spokesperson for the federal reserve said in a statement, referring to the Salt Lake City branch’s decision.

Despite the precautions, law enforcement agencies in Utah and Salt Lake Counties did not see any incidents of unrest taking place on election night. And they’re not seeing any signs yet that will change, said Detective Michael Ruff, a public information officer with the Salt Lake City Police Department.

“We do have plans in place in case there is something that crops up,” Ruff said. “However, there’s nothing that we have on our radar that would indicate that there’s any imminent problems there.”

In Provo, business owners were unsure of what election night would bring. The city saw a clash between Black Lives Matter groups and counter-protesters turn violent in late June — a moment of unrest that was new for longtime resident Martha Sosa.

Sosa and her husband have lived in the college town for decades, and she said she had never experienced anything like it.

“We love Provo because this doesn’t happen like it does in other cities,” she said. “But this last year has been crazy.”

A bullet hole is visible in a display window looking into a furniture store.
David Fuchs
Several storefronts in Provo were shot up on the night of a protest this summer.

Business owners there are nervous election-related unrest could bring more damage.

The couple’s furniture store was among a handful of businesses whose storefronts were shot up on the night of the summer protest — and both the bullet holes and the memories from that night are still fresh.

Sosa said her family’s anxiety lowered a bit on Wednesday morning, when they woke up to find nothing had gone wrong. But with the presidential election still undecided, she said their worry remains.

“We’re hoping nothing happens, but everybody’s afraid,” she said.

David is a reporter and producer working on Sent Away, an investigative podcast series from KUER, The Salt Lake Tribune and APM Reports.
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