We are a coalition of people and organizations from across the ideological spectrum urging that political debates be made more “of the people” by bringing them fully into the Internet age.

Specifically, we endorse this Open Debate principle: The public should be empowered to conceive and select debate questions – so that questions addressed by candidates represent the will of the people.

This is not a matter of right versus left, but new versus old. Participatory democracy is a driving principle of the open Internet. The best ideas rise to the top, and the wisdom of crowds prevails.

Moderators can choose from among the top questions proposed and voted on by the public – and have discretion to ask follow-up questions. Many formats can be experimented with, some typical and others so innovative they have yet to be conceived.

As voter participation declines, voter-driven Open Debates that embrace the Internet’s bottom-up ethos could breathe fresh air into our democracy – and attract more young people to participate.

The members of the Open Debate Coalition don’t agree on every issue. But we agree that by bringing together the power of the Internet with the voices of voters, we can ensure that debates are truly “of the people.” We urge candidates, political parties, the media, and debate hosts to work with us and the public to transform our democracy through Open Debates. This represents the future of democracy, and we can make great strides together in the 2016 election.



Adam Green and Stephanie Taylor
Progressive Change Campaign Committee

Grover Norquist
Founder and President
Americans for Tax Reform


Heather McGhee
Immediate Past President

Jimmy Wales

Mindy Finn
Former Senior Digital Advisor
National Republican Senatorial Committee

Rashad Robinson
Executive Director

Terry O'Neill
Immediate Past President
National Organization for Women

Alexandra Flores-Quilty
Immediate Past President
United States Student Association


Ethan Zuckerman
Former Director
MIT Media Lab
Center for Civic Education

Ralph Reed
Founder and Chairman
Faith & Freedom Coalition



Adam Green and Stephanie Taylor (Co-Founders, Progressive Change Campaign Committee and Progressive Change Institute)

Grover Norquist (Founder, Americans for Tax Reform)

Jimmy Wales (Co-Founder, Wikipedia)


Craig Newmark (Founder, craigslist)

Cindy Cohn (Executive Director, Electronic Frontier Foundation)

Terry O’Neill (Immediate Past President, National Organization for Women)

Ralph Reed (Founder & Chairman, Faith & Freedom Coalition)

Mindy Finn (Former Digital Strategy Director, Mitt Romney; Former Senior Digital Advisor, Republican National Committee; Founder, Empowered Women)

Tim O’Reilly (Founder, O’Reilly Media)



Rashad Robinson (Executive Director,

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA)

Adam Brandon (President & CEO, FreedomWorks)

Michael Turk (Former eCampaign Director, Republican National Committee and Bush/Cheney '04)

Anna Galland and Ilya Sheyman (Executive Directors, Civic and Political Action)

Ilyse Hogue (President, NARAL Pro-Choice America)

Roberta Combs (President and CEO, Christian Coalition of America)


Wade Henderson and Nancy Zirkin (President and Executive Vice President of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights)

Shepard Fairey (Artist known for iconic Obama “Hope” poster)

Heather McGhee (Immediate Past President, Demos)

Albert Jacquez (Deputy Executive Director, National Council of La Raza Action Fund)

Jon Henke (Former New Media Director, U.S. Senate Republicans and Fred Thompson for President; Strategic Director, TechFreedom)

Cenk Uygur (Host, The Young Turks)

Shaunna Thomas (Co-Founder, UltraViolet)

Ed Martin (President, Eagle Forum)

Ben Rattray (Founder and CEO,

Chris Shelton (President, Communications Workers of America)

Dana Singiser (Vice President for Public Policy & Government Affairs, Planned Parenthood Federation of America)

Michael Brune (Executive Director, Sierra Club)

Karissa Gerhke (National Director, Sierra Student Coalition)

Markos Moulitsas (Founder, DailyKos)

Glenn Reynolds (Founder, Instapundit)

Craig Aaron (President & CEO, Free Press Action Fund)

Matt Nelson (Executive Director, Presente)

Ady Barkan (Center for Popular Democracy)

Dennis Cook (Chairman, Young Republican National Federation)

Louis Elrod (President, Young Democrats of America)

Gene Karpinski (President, League of Conservation Voters)

Cory Doctorow (Author, blogger, journalist)

David Moore (Executive Director,, Participatory Politics Foundation)

Ethan Zuckerman (Director, MIT Center for Civic Media)

Jared Friedman (Founder, Scribd; Partner, Y Combinator)

Marvin Ammori (Lawyer, Technology Strategist)

Micah Sifry and Andrew Rasiej (Co-Founders, Personal Democracy Media, Civic Hall)

Jim Dean (Chair, Democracy for America)

May Boeve (Executive Director, 350 Action)

Jose Antonio Vargas (CEO, Define American)

Roy Beck (President, NumbersUSA)

Jeremy Ben-Ami (President, J Street)

Alex Lawson (Executive Director, Social Security Works)

Alexandra Flores-Quilty (Immediate Past President, United States Student Association)

Joseph Bast (President & CEO, The Heartland Institute)

Ana Maria Archila (Co-Executive Director, Center for Popular Democracy Action)

Heather Hargreaves (Vice President, NextGen Climate)

Larry Lessig (Founder, Creative Commons; Roy L. Furman Professor of Law and Leadership, Harvard Law School)


Sunrise Movement

David Segal (Executive Director, Demand Progress and Rootstrikers)

Peter Wood & Ashley Thorne (President & Executive Director, National Association of Scholars)

Kenneth Roth (Executive Director, Human Rights Watch)

Murshed Zaheed (Political Director, CREDO Action)

Rea Carey (Executive Director, National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund)

Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap (National Director, Move to Amend)


Robert Greenwald (Founder, Brave New Films)

Marissa Brown (Executive Director, Democracy Initiative)

Karen Hobert Flynn (Senior Advisor and former President, Common Cause)

Dennis M. Kelleher (President and CEO, Better Markets)

Mark Riddle (President, New Leaders Council)

Robert Weissman (President, Public Citizen)

Christopher Long (President, Intercollegiate Studies Institute)

Jodi Jacobson (President and Editor-in-Chief, Rewire)

Mary Rickles and Eric Thut (Communications Director and Interim Executive Director, Netroots Nation)

Robyn Thomas (Executive Director, Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence)

Dean Baker (Co-Founder, Center for Economic and Policy Research)

Stosh Cotler (CEO, Bend the Arc Jewish Action)

Deepak Pateriya (Executive Director, Center for Community Change Action)

Josh Feigelson (Founder and Executive Director, Ask Big Questions)

Rhea Suh (President, NRDC Action Fund)

Akshat Tewary (President, Occupy the SEC)

Frank Clemente (Executive Director, Americans for Tax Fairness)

Maggie Thompson and Layla Zaidane (Executive Director and Managing Director, Generation Progress Action)

Michele Combs (Founder and Chairman, Young Conservatives for Energy Reform)

Michaela Bethune, (Head of Campaigns, Do Something)

Chris Kelly (Former Chief Privacy Officer, Facebook; Founder, Kelly Investments; Chair, Organizer Inc.) 

Jamie Rappaport-Clark (President & CEO, Defenders of Wildlife)

Arianna Huffington is also a member of the Open Debate Coalition.