BOSTON (CBS) – Mayor Marty Walsh asked Boston residents to “respond peacefully” on Election Day, regardless of the results.

A total of 159,000 Boston residents have voted early so far out of 432,000 registered voters in the city.

“Whether we like the results or not, there will be strong emotions on all sides tomorrow,” said Walsh. “It’s okay to have emotions; there’s a lot at stake. But we must take care of ourselves, our families, our communities, and we must respond peacefully.”

The Boston mayor also warned that we may not know who the next president will be by the end of Election Day.

“We should not be surprised if we don’t hear a clear national result tomorrow night or Wednesday morning, or for several days. That does not mean that the voting process is broken or compromised in any way,” said Walsh. “Every vote must be counted and the will of the people must prevail.”

Several businesses in Boston have boarded up their storefronts as a precaution in the event there is civil unrest stemming from the election.

Several businesses on Newbury Street in Boston were boarded up Monday, ahead of the election. (Photo credit: Lisa Gresci – WBZ-TV)

Walsh said the businesses were acting out of an “abundance of caution” and that he does not believe there is any reason to be alarmed.

“We have no reason to believe as (Boston Police Commissioner William Gross) just said and I mentioned earlier that there’s cause for concern,” said Walsh. “Certainly, we’re all constantly optimistic that the election day will be incident free, but we want to encourage residents if you see something out of the ordinary call 311.”

Coronavirus precautions will be in place at all polling locations. Poll workers are issued personal protective equipment, including face shields, masks, gloves, disinfectant and hand sanitizer.

“I’m asking people – don’t try and make a political statement tomorrow by going in to vote without a mask,” said Walsh. “I’m asking you to wear a mask; have the courtesy for the poll workers; have the courtesy for the people around you.”

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