First presidential debate:
Monday, September 16, 2024
Texas State University, San Marcos, TX
Vice presidential debate:
Wednesday, September 25, 2024
Lafayette College, Easton, PA
Second presidential debate:
Tuesday, October 1, 2024
Virginia State University, Petersburg, VA
Third presidential debate:
Wednesday, October 9, 2024
The University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT
CPD Co-Chairs Frank Fahrenkopf and Antonia Hernández stated: "The United States’ general election debates, watched live worldwide, are a model for many other countries: the opportunity to hear and see leading candidates address serious issues in a fair and neutral setting. This tradition remains unbroken since 1976. In 2024, students at our four debate sites will help bring another set of historic conversations to audiences here and abroad. And their campuses will anchor four unique chances to listen and learn.
"We are deeply grateful to the University of Utah for hosting its second general election debate, to Lafayette College and Texas State University for the first CPD debates in Pennsylvania and Texas, and to Virginia State University for the first debate ever held at a Historically Black College or University (HBCU)."
The CPD was established in 1987 and has sponsored and produced all general election presidential and vice presidential debates since then. The CPD receives no funding from the government or any political party or campaign.
The mission of the nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates (the “CPD”) is to ensure, for the benefit of the American electorate, that general election debates are held every four years between the leading candidates for the offices of President and Vice President of the United States. The CPD sponsored a series of such debates in each of the past nine general elections, and has begun the planning, preparation, and organization of a series of nonpartisan debates among leading candidates for the Presidency and Vice Presidency in the 2024 general election. As in prior years, the CPD’s voter educational activities will be conducted in accordance with all applicable legal requirements, including regulations of the Federal Election Commission that require that debate sponsors extend invitations to debate based on the application of “pre-established, objective” criteria.
The goal of the CPD’s debates is to afford the members of the public an opportunity to sharpen their views, in a focused debate format, of those candidates from among whom the next President and Vice President will be selected. In each of the last nine elections, there were scores of declared candidates for the Presidency, excluding those seeking the nomination of one of the major parties. During the course of the campaign, the candidates are afforded many opportunities in a great variety of forums to advance their candidacies. In order most fully and fairly to achieve the educational purposes of its debates, the CPD has developed nonpartisan, objective criteria upon which it will base its decisions regarding selection of the candidates to participate in its 2024 debates. The purpose of the criteria is to identify those candidates whose support among the electorate places them among the candidates who have a realistic chance of being elected President of the United States. The realistic chance need not be overwhelming, but it must be more than theoretical.
In connection with the 2024 general election, the CPD will apply three criteria to each declared candidate to determine whether that candidate qualifies for inclusion in one or more of the CPD’s debates. The criteria are (1) constitutional eligibility, (2) ballot access, and (3) electoral support. All three criteria must be satisfied before a candidate will be invited to debate.
B. NONPARTISAN SELECTION CRITERIA
The CPD’s nonpartisan criteria for selecting candidates to participate in the 2024 general election for presidential debates are:
The CPD’s first criterion requires satisfaction of the eligibility requirements of Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution. The requirements are satisfied if the candidate:
The CPD’s second criterion requires that the candidate qualify to have his/her name appear on enough state ballots to have at least a mathematical chance of securing an Electoral College majority in the 2024 general election. Under the Constitution, the candidate who receives a majority of the votes in the Electoral College, at least 270 votes, is elected President regardless of the popular vote.
The CPD’s third criterion requires that the candidate have a level of support of at least 15% (fifteen percent) of the national electorate as determined by five national public opinion polling organizations selected by the CPD, using the average of those organizations' most recent publicly-reported results at the time of the determination. CPD will rely on the advice of a recognized expert or experts in public opinion polling in determining the polls it will rely upon. The polls to be relied upon will be selected based on the quality of the methodology employed, the reputation of the polling organizations and the frequency of the polling conducted. CPD will identify the selected polling organizations well in advance of the time the criteria are applied.
C. APPLICATION OF CRITERIA
The CPD’s determination with respect to participation in CPD’s first-scheduled debate will be made after Labor Day 2024, but sufficiently in advance of the first-scheduled debate to allow for orderly planning. Invitations to participate in the vice-presidential debate will be extended to the running mate of each of the presidential candidates qualifying for participation in the CPD’s first presidential debate. Invitations to participate in the second and third of the CPD’ scheduled presidential debates will be based upon satisfaction of the same multiple criteria prior to each debate.
Adopted: October 30, 2023