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Uncertainty, anxiety, anger: Some voters want the election over, others worry about what comes next

The White House behind security barriers.

The White House behind security barriers.
(Cliff Owen / Associated Press)
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All across these divided states of America, voters are looking to the Nov. 3 election with a combination of fear and dread.

Hope and change, the buoyant message that helped carry Barack Obama to the White House 12 years ago, seems not so much a memory as a fossilized remnant of some far-off land.

Some Democrats fret that President Trump will subvert the law to stay in office. Some Republicans worry that left-wing agitators will rage and riot to ensure former Vice President Joe Biden replaces him.

Normally, tensions ease once the votes are cast and a winner is declared. This time, many are concerned that election day will not end this rancorous campaign season but rather will usher in a period of unrest that will only drive this deeply fractured nation further apart.

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— Mark Z. Barabak

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“I know [Trump] is willing to do whatever it takes to win the election. He is going to say that the votes weren’t right.... ‘I want a recount.’ He’s not gonna be so quick to step down. It’s just going to be a never-ending thing.”

Courtney Steele, an insurance broker in Atlanta

Cortney Steele, 40, an insurance broker in Atlanta.
Cortney Steele, 40, said he does not trust Trump in the run-up to the election, particularly after the president’s months-long campaign against mail-in voting. “The truth isn’t in him at all,” he said of Trump as he strolled down Peachtree Street in downtown Atlanta.
(Jenny Jarvie / Los Angeles Times)

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“The big thing that bothers me is rioting. Thankfully, I don’t see it on the streets here.”

Trump supporter Robert Shatto, a retiree from Santa Clarita, Calif.

“I don’t think it’s far-fetched to say that we’re going to see a lot more conservatives, a lot more Trump supporters, voting in person, and a lot more Democrats being a bit more cautious and voting via mail.... If on election night we see a Trump victory and then, as the ballots start coming in from mail-in voting, we start seeing states flipping, I’m worried about how that might look.”

Biden supporter Christopher Shatto of Santa Clarita, son of Robert Shatto

Robert Shatto, 64, a retiree from Santa Clarita stands with his son, Christopher Shatto, 24, who delivers pizzas.
Robert Shatto, 64, stands with his son Christopher, 24, in Santa Clarita. Robert is a Trump supporter; Christopher supports Biden.
(Arit John / Los Angeles Times)

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“I’m not voting because I’m afraid; I’m voting to get someone who’s a little smarter than [Trump] is.”

Tony Sambrano of Westminster, Calif.

Tony Sambrano, a Democrat, said he is looking forward to voting Trump out of office.
(Melissa Gomez / Los Angeles Times)

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“The way Trump is setting it up, he’s making it sound like, in case he loses, that it was all fake, it was all rigged against him. So that’s what I’m concerned about — that he’s going to be tough to get out.”

Michael Martinez, a retired union carpenter in Las Vegas

Michael Martinez, 69, poses with a mask on in front of a home in Las Vegas.
Michael Martinez, who is supporting Biden for president, plans to stock up on food and water in case there are supply disruptions after the election.
(Mark Z. Barabak / Los Angeles Times)

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“I feel the Democrats have instilled this desperation.... They’ll do anything, pulling all the stops out.”

Jeanine Davis of Huntington Beach, Calif.

Jeanine Davis poses with a red Trump hat in Huntington Beach.
Jeanine Davis, a registered Republican, said she is worried about possible violence from supporters of the Democratic Party if Trump wins the election.
(Melissa Gomez / Los Angeles Times)

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Trump’s “people, his followers, his core, will lap it up like honey.”

Kate Yarboro, a writer, was speaking of the president’s unsubstantiated claims about widespread voter fraud, which she called “baloney.”

Kate and Barry Yarboro of Oshkosh, Wis., sit on a bench together.
Kate and Barry Yarboro, both 70, of Oshkosh, Wis., said they have faith that their local officials will hold a fair election. “It’d be really hard to do something corrupt that would really affect the results,” said Barry, a retiree and a Democrat. “It’s more likely you’d want to spread rumors the results are wrong.”
(Melanie Mason / Los Angeles Times)

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Trump is “just trying to get more people from his side to come out and vote. Just the way the other side says, ‘They’re trying to keep all you people from voting!’ If you don’t see what’s happening on both sides, you’re not looking very closely.”

Dave Gorrasi, an undecided voter from Green Township, Ohio, a suburb of Cincinnati

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Dave Gorrasi, 41, adjusts a fish tank in his aquatics store.
Dave Gorrasi, 41, owner of Blue Hook Aquatics in Green Township, outside of Cincinnati, is a political independent who is not sure he will vote for either Trump or Biden. He is sick of all the “fear tactics” he says both sides use to whip up voters.
(Jim Rainey / Los Angeles Times)

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“There’s a heightened sensitivity because of the violence that has been demonstrated in the media” at the hands of law enforcement. “That’s where this is coming from.”

Thea Marie Perkins of Valencia, Calif.

Thea Marie Perkins, a 50-something educator, plans to vote for Biden.
(Arit John / Los Angeles Times)

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“Ain’t nothing to do about it. It’s gonna be what it’s gonna be. It’s going to be OK. Everyone’s blowing everything out of all proportion.”

Jackie Dodd, a Trump supporter in Atlanta

Jackie Dodd, 60, a finance loan officer supporting President Trump, gets ready to push open a door.
Jackie Dodd, 60, is a finance loan officer who supports Trump. The economy seems to be going well, she said, and she is making about $20 more per month. She is confident Trump will win in November but said that, whatever happens, she will accept the result.
(Jenny Jarvie / Los Angeles Times)

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“It’s hard to trust anyone, to be honest. Everyone seems to be out for themselves.... People are losing their minds.”

Shad DeLacy of Kenosha, Wis., an uncommitted voter

Shad DeLacy and Lewis Aceto stand in a storefront in Kenosha, Wis.
Shad DeLacy, right, stands with friend Lewis Aceto, a Trump supporter, in Kenosha. DeLacy is disenchanted with politicians, and after recent protests and civil unrest over the police shooting of Jacob Blake in his hometown, he’s ready to move out of the country, he said.
(Tyrone Beason / Los Angeles Times)

Times staff writers contributing to this story: Mark Z. Barabak from Las Vegas; Jenny Jarvie from Atlanta; Tyrone Beason from Kenosha; Melissa Gomez from Huntington Beach; Arit John from Santa Clarita; Melanie Mason from Oshkosh; and Jim Rainey from Cincinnati.