HomePoliticsHere's everything you need to know about the upcoming presidential debates

Here’s everything you need to know about the upcoming presidential debates

For months, voters, journalists and political observers wondered whether President Joe Biden and former president Donald Trump would meet in person this year for debates ahead of the 2024 presidential election.

On Wednesday, both campaigns ultimately committed to at least two debates, which will look different in several ways than we are used to. Here’s everything you need to know about who will take part, when you can watch them and how these debates came about.

When will Trump and Biden debate?

The campaigns corresponded on two dates: June 27 and September 10. The June debate will take place in Atlanta, Georgia, at 9:00 PM ET. Details about the time and place of the September debate have not yet been announced.

Who moderates the debates?

CNN will host the first debate, with anchors Jake Tapper and Dana Bash act as co-moderator.

ABC News will host the second debate in September, with hosts David Muir and Linsey Davis as co-moderators.

Where can I watch the debates?

Both networks plan to air the debate on linear TV, with ABC News announcing that the debate would also be available in September on its streaming network, ABC News Live, and on Hulu. ABC also said it would allow other broadcast and streaming networks to simulcast his debate.

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The latest national and state polls indicate a close head-to-head race between Biden and Trump, with the former president doing better in the surveys but the race still close.

A Fox News national poll this week found that 49% of registered voters said they would vote for Trump, while 48% of those voters said they would vote for Biden.

What are the debate rules, restrictions and conditions?

Both CNN and ABC News have announced that candidates must meet certain requirements and voting thresholds to appear on the debate stage.

In addition to meeting constitutional requirements and registering as a candidate with the Federal Election Commission, both news organizations require that candidates participate in the ballot in enough states to reach at least 270 electoral votes, that candidates “accept the rules and format of the debate ‘. ”, and that candidates receive at least 15% in four national polls of registered or likely voters.

Will there be other candidates, such as Robert Kennedy Jr. or Cornel West, participate in the debates?

The above requirements imposed by the TV networks make it difficult for Kennedy or West, both running as independents, to take the debate stage. But Kennedy has said he wants to try.

First, the poll threshold will likely exclude West and third parties other than Kennedy. Although Kennedy has already surpassed 15% in two qualifying polls, no other candidate has done so.

Meanwhile, Kennedy has been working for months to collect petition signatures in states across the country. States vary in the number of signatures required before a candidate can be placed on the presidential ballot.

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Kennedy is already on the ballot in states with a total of 85 electoral votes, and between his campaign and the pro-Kennedy super PAC, they say they have the signatures for an additional 11 states that have another 129 electoral votes. But announcing that the signatures are present and having those signatures verified and earning ballot placement are different things, and each state has its own deadlines, rules and procedures for getting on the ballot.

In a statement posted Wednesday on X, formerly known as Twitter, Kennedy was confident he would meet the debate requirements by the deadline.

Meanwhile, West has gotten on the ballot in at least six states so far. How will the debates on CNN and ABC News differ?

Aside from the different moderators and the different questions, CNN has announced that there will be no audience for their June debate. In a press release on Wednesday, the news organization said it was excluding an audience “to ensure candidates can maximize time spent in the debate.”

ABC News has not announced whether it will allow the public to attend the September debate.

Will there be a vice presidential debate?

The Trump campaign has not yet announced its running mate or accepted an invitation to a vice presidential debate.

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On Thursday, the Biden campaign said Vice President Kamala Harris accepted an invitation from CBS to a vice presidential debate over the summer. The campaign and CBS agreed that the debate could take place on July 23 or August 13. The July date would fall just a week after the Republican convention, where Trump could name his running mate.

“We look forward to the Trump campaign accepting one of these dates so that the full debate calendar for this campaign can be established,” a Biden campaign official told NBC News.

What about the Commission on Presidential Debates?

For decades, the nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates worked with TV networks and news organizations to hold series of presidential debates in the weeks and months leading up to each Election Day.

Late last year, the group announced three dates – one in September and two in October – for presidential debates. But the CNN and ABC News debates announced Wednesday are not taking place in conjunction with the Commission on Presidential Debates.

The Trump campaign has previously criticized the CPD’s debate timeline, arguing that with early voting, “millions of Americans” will have cast their ballots before some of the committee’s set debate dates.

In a letter to CPD Wednesday, ahead of the announcement of the ABC News and CNN debates, Biden campaign chairman Jen O’Malley Dillon also argued that the debates should take place earlier.

She suggested that one debate would take place in June, “after Donald Trump’s criminal trial in New York is likely to be over and after President Biden returns from meeting world leaders at the G7 summit,” and one debate in early September, ‘at the start of the fall campaign season, early enough to influence early voting, but not so late that candidates have to leave the campaign trail in the critical period of late September and October.

On Wednesday, the commission stuck with its original dates, saying in a statement: “We will remain ready to implement this plan.”

This article was originally published on NBCNews.com

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