Should There Be a Fourth Presidential Debate?
Do you want to see a fourth presidential debate?
by Causes | 8.6.20
What’s the story?
- In a letter to President Donald Trump’s private attorney, Rudy Giuliani, the Commission on Presidential Debates responded to Trump’s request that an additional presidential debate be scheduled in early September before mail-in ballots are sent to voters.
- Both Trump and presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden have agreed to participate in the three currently scheduled presidential debates on September 29th in Cleveland, October 15th in Miami, and October 22nd in Nashville.
- Trump has argued that voters should have the opportunity to see the leading presidential candidates debate before they’re able to cast a mail-in ballot. Giuliani wrote to the Commission on Presidential Debates to inquire about adding a fourth debate to the schedule, which Giuliani called "an outdated dinosaur" because "as many as eight million Americans in 16 states will have already started voting" by September 29th.
- The Commission notes in its reply to the request that while some states may send out ballots before the first currently scheduled debate, that doesn’t mean voters have to complete & return their ballot before the first debate:
“There is a difference between ballots having been issued by a state and those ballots having been cast by voters, who are under no compulsion to return their ballots before the debates. In 2016, when the debate schedule was similar, only .0069% of the electorate had voted at the time of the first debate. While more people will likely vote by mail in 2020, the debate schedule has been and will be highly publicized. Any voter who wishes to watch one or more debates before voting will be well aware of that opportunity.”
- However, the Commission also responded to the request by leaving the door open to adding a fourth presidential debate if both candidates agreed to add it to the schedule:
“The Commission has found that three 90-minute debates work well to fulfill the voter education purposes the debates are intended to serve. If the candidates were to agree that they wished to add to that schedule, the Commission would consider that request but remains committed to the schedule of debates it has planned as reflected in the attached release.”
- The campaign for former Vice President Joe Biden released a statement in response to the Commission’s letter, which said that the candidate “will be there” for the debates as scheduled without weighing in on a potential fourth debate.
— Eric Revell
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