VMAN’s Post-Election Safety Plan

Your ultimate survival guide for days and weeks following the election.

During this year’s U.S. presidential election, a lot is on the ballot: in addition to determining who is to serve our country as President for the next four years, it will also shape our climate change policy and shape the attitude towards LGBTQIA rights and racial equality in the White House and beyond. But prior to and immediately after the official election result announcements, some major threats to public safety are anticipated  — with shopping districts in New York City and beyond bracing themselves for days of civil unrest and possible election-related protests.

President Donald Trump has clearly indicated he will not accept the election results if they are not in his favor, which in itself is a threat to our democracy and public safety nationwide. Though absolutely ridiculous, the idea that a president would refuse the people’s choice to vote is becoming a real possibility in the current political climate. What happens if the President doesn’t commit to a peaceful transition of power? Will the contested election lead to constitutional and civil chaos? Whatever happens, we should all try our best to stay safe and civil as we poise ourselves for days (and possibly weeks) of post-election uncertainty.

With a historically contentious divide between Democrats and Republicans currently present in our society, the results from the election could lead to some direct attacks and acts of violence from both sides of the political spectrum — regardless of who wins. Despite all, we urge everyone to be safe and take caution for some time following 2020 Election Day.

STEP I: Physical Safety

First things first: make sure you keep your physical body safe and healthy in the coming weeks. Follow your local news station for the latest updates on what’s happening in your community following the election as tensions may be rising and certain groups may start having strong, adverse reactions to current news events. If you feel like things get especially heated in your area — consider making a plan for yourself and your loved ones to leave home and take refuge elsewhere for a little while. Pack a bag of essentials in case you do need to go, including your ID and important documents, any medications you may need, some clothes, toiletries, snacks, cash, cards, your phone and laptop and their chargers. Having some form of personal protection is also a good idea, as unforeseen circumstances may arise along the way.

If getting away for a bit isn’t a viable option, staying inside is going to be your second best option. With the global pandemic in full swing, we should already be doing this as much as possible — but it’s a good idea to stock up on groceries and other household essentials that will last you a couple of weeks before the election results are officially announced. Undocumented immigrants should strongly consider looking into the nearest sanctuary city; there is no certainty as to what could happen following the election, so spread the word to make sure your family, friends and acquaintances all find a safe place to be during these trying times. Having a back-up plan is never a bad idea.

STEP II: Mental Health and Self-Care

With heightened anxiety and angst in the weeks leading up to the election, the event has already placed an emotional toll on many of us. Take the time to think about how you may feel about the possible outcomes. If you know that you are likely to be seriously affected by the results of this election, talk to your boss about it and make sure to schedule ahead just in case you need a few days off to collect yourself and restore some sort of emotional balance.

If you are currently taking any mental health medications, make sure you have them refilled beforehand so you have a supply to fall back on in case of unforeseen circumstances. In any case, remember that there are always people who are here to support you; talk to your loved ones and find a safe space to channel your frustration, anxiety or fears.

If you find yourself at a point of privilege where the outcome of this election may not worry you as much, take this time to check in on your friends who are more likely to be impacted. At a time when so many marginalized communities are already under attack after decades of systemical targeting and discrimination, it’s important to make sure those around you have a physical and emotional safety plan.

With our current reality, it is important to think of these things ahead of time and make sure you and your loved ones are feeling safe and protected. We realize this is not a pleasant or lighthearted topic. We sympathize. We understand. But we must be prepared for all possible outcomes, even the not-so-welcome ones.

In any case, remember that VMAN is here for each and every one of you. And though we brace ourselves for the worst, it never hurts to hope for the best and look forward to a brighter, more promising future for all of us.

Discover More