Election Day is almost upon us, and as candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump make their final pleas to voters and await the results of the 2016 race, they’ll be doing so under the watchful eye of law enforcement officials.
The Secret Service and the NYPD are taking extraordinary steps to brace for potential violence of the kind that, in this especially vicious campaign, has seen fistfights erupt at rallies and nervous Secret Service agents several times rush the campaign stage to protectively surround the candidates.
With both Trump and Clinton spending Election Night in Manhattan, just blocks away from each other, NYPD was activating its all-hands-on-deck Joint Operations Center and the Secret Service was setting up an operations command center for multiple federal, state and local law enforcement and homeland security agencies to respond to any election protest activity, a law enforcement official tells PEOPLE.
Both candidates will be keeping busy in the final hours of the election. Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, will start the day by casting their own ballots in Chappaqua, New York. Later, Clinton plans to call into local radio stations in battleground states before relocating to Midtown Manhattan and another as-yet-unknown location near the Javits Center, where she and her closest family members will watch returns and keep up with reports from the analytics and legal teams manning a command center at the campaign’s Brooklyn headquarters. (“I’m sure she’ll be very nervous,” a top campaign aide tells PEOPLE.)
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In the evening, VIPs will arrive at the Javits Center for viewing parties, and a massive late-night appearance by Clinton at what they hope will be a victory celebration.
Among the celebrities and other VIPs expected to attend are about 30 of Clinton’s childhood and college girlfriends —”the Cats,” ringleader Betsy Ebeling tells PEOPLE. “That’s what I call them. It’s like herding cats.” Ebeling says the group of longtime girlfriends are planning to celebrate the success of the girl they knew when. “It’s wonderful at this age to realize that the choices you made when you were 10 or 11 years old, as far as friends are concerned, can bear fruit as sweet as this.”
The Clinton campaign had secured a permit for a fireworks display over the Hudson River near the Javits Center, but that was plan was quietly canceled on Friday as a flurry of additional campaign rallies were layered onto Monday’s packed schedule.
It was a Manic-Monday finish for Team Clinton. President Obama was sprinting from Michigan to New Hampshire and then Philadelphia. Al Gore deployed to Colorado and Bill Clinton to Greensboro, North Carolina. Joe Biden and Tim Kaine stormed Virginia. And Hillary Clinton herself added a midnight Tuesday rally in Raleigh, North Carolina, after what was originally planned for her finale: a Monday 8 p.m. blowout on Philadelphia’s Independence Mall with Bill and Chelsea Clinton, and Michelle and Barack Obama.
Late Sunday it was announced that Bruce Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi would also appear there in an all-out push to win Pennsylvania for Clinton. And then late on Monday, it was announced that Bill, Chelsea and Bon Jovi would hop on Clinton’s plane in Philly to continue on to Raleigh.
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Trump, meanwhile, will split time on Tuesday between his Trump Tower home and the New York Hilton Midtown a couple blocks away, where he has scheduled a victory party of his own.
And Clinton surrogate Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts will be spending her evening much like many of us will:
“I’ll be at home with my husband and I’ll be alternating between eating popcorn and eating my fingernails,” Warren joked to Ellen DeGeneres on Monday.