CPD Statement on 2024 Debate Schedule

May 1, 2024                                                                                                                          contact: [email protected]

The non-partisan, non-profit Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) announced sites and dates for the 2024 debates in November, 2023. The first debate, scheduled for September 16, will be the earliest televised general election debate ever held. As it always does, the CPD considered multiple factors in selecting debate dates in order to make them accessible by the American public. These factors include religious and federal holidays, early voting, and the dates on which individual states close their ballots.

Yesterday, it was claimed that the CPD’s schedule does not begin until after “millions of Americans will have already cast their ballots.” The CPD purposefully chose September 16 after a comprehensive study of early voting rules in every state. On September 6, 2024, North Carolina county boards of elections will begin to mail absentee ballots to citizens who have requested them. Once those ballots are received, they can be returned to a board of elections office in person or via mail. In-person early voting in North Carolina does not begin until October 17.

On September 16, the day of the first debate, Pennsylvania voters can receive, complete and return ballots at their county boards of elections.

Every other state starts early voting later, as of the most recently published information.

Equally importantly, federal law requires any general election debate sponsor to have pre-published, objective criteria by which to decide who qualifies to participate in the debates. Nomination by a major party is not sufficient in and of itself. The CPD’s 2024 Candidate Selection Criteria, published in November, 2023, include the requirement to appear on a sufficient number of state ballots to have an arithmetic chance of winning the Electoral College. Three states do not close their ballots for independent candidates until September 6.

The CPD has only one mission: to sponsor and produce general election debates that inform and educate the public. Our schedule is designed with that single mission in mind. The colleges and universities preparing to host these debates look forward to being part of an historic 2024 series of forums.