The Commission on Presidential Debates announced the presidential and vice presidential debate formats for this fall's election season which includes both traditional moderator formats and a town hall of undecided citizens.
There will be three presidential debates and one vice-presidential debate beginning in October. All debates will take place between 9:00-10:30 p.m. ET.
Unlike some of the Republican primary debates earlier this year there will be no opening statements. The candidates will be given time for a two minute closing statement in all of the debates.
Domestic policy will be the focus of the first presidential debate which is scheduled for October 3 at the University of Denver. It will be divided into six time segments of about 15 minutes per topic, which will be chosen by the moderator and announced several weeks before the debate. Following the moderator's opening question, the candidates will have two minutes to respond. The moderator will use the remaining time in each segment for a discussion of the topic, according to the commission.
Foreign and domestic policy topics will be covered by the only vice presidential debate. It is scheduled for October 11 at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky. The debate will be divided into nine segments of about 10 minutes each followed by the same question-answer format as the presidential debate.
Undecided voters, chosen by the Gallup Organization, will ask the candidates questions regarding foreign and domestic policy during the second debate. In the style of a town meeting, this event will be on October 16 at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York. The candidates will have two minutes to respond to each of the citizen's questions with an additional minute for the moderator to direct the discussion.
The final presidential debate's focus will be foreign policy and will take place on October 22 at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida. It will have the same format as the first presidential debate.
In all debates, except the second presidential town meeting with undecided voters, the CPD recommends that the candidate be seated at a table with the moderator.
Moderators will be announced in August.
In a program to be announced later this month, the CPD said it will undertake a voter engagement program using the internet to educate voters and encourage citizens to become familiar with issues and share input with the moderators before the debate.
Commission co-chairman Frank J. Fahrenkopf Jr. and Michale D. McCurry said the debate formats are a result of an extensive study by the CPD board of directors.