"Town hall debates... provide an excellent opportunity to utilize technology to give voters more of a role in determining which questions are selected and asked... I support the use of such technology in debates as the Coalition proposes. I urge both the Commission on Presidential Debates and the television networks to... engage voters more directly in the questions asked during debates."
- President Barack Obama
"The McCain-Palin campaign agrees with you that the debates are ultimately for the benefit of the American people, who deserve to see the candidates address the issues that concern them most... We support your suggestion that the public play a role in selecting the questions to be asked."
- Senator John McCain
"Open Debates are a great idea. I encourage voters to ask questions!"
- Senator Elizabeth Warren
“There is a mutual frustration with presidential debate questions dominated by a handful of television personalities rather than average voters. We anticipate many more Open Debates in the future -- up and down the ballot.”
- Grover Norquist
Americans for Tax Reform
"A more open democracy is always a better one. In this critical election year, it is imperative that the questions on the minds of voters are asked and answered. ABC and CNN deserve kudos for embracing this participatory model."
- Arianna Huffington
Co-founder & Former Editor-in-Chief
The Huffington Post
"The Commission was watching closely as the Open Debate Coalition tested out their innovative bottom-up question submission and voting platform in the primaries this year, and we were impressed with the results. This year's presidential debate moderators will have a rich pool of voter-submitted questions they can draw on that carry greater weight because they are backed by votes from the American people."
- Mike McCurry
Commission on Presidential Debates
"We think we've found a good opportunity to bring some much needed reform and in the process once again demonstrate our tri-partisan nature. We've teamed up with individuals on the left (including MoveOn.org) along with others on the center and the right to sign a letter to support transparency in terms of the content and questions asked during the debates."
- Newt Gingrich's American Solutions
"The unique format of the debate provided an opportunity to engage voters in a more meaningful way than in other debates. I appreciated the chance to answer questions chosen by the voters and to communicate my stances on the issues that matter most to all of us."
- Congresswoman Katherine Clark
Participant in nation's first Open Debate
"The Open Debate Coalition mission aligns with my beliefs and I'm happy to have designed the logo for this new tool for a more democratic forum. I completely agree that the debate questions are often about drama and ratings rather than issues that meaningfully impact the average American."
- Shepard Fairey
Artist known for iconic
Obama "Hope" poster
"We're experiencing a great movement towards networked, grassroots democracy, and anything citizens can do to promote that is good for the country. The Open Debate Coalition's principles mark a significant step forward in that direction."
- Craig Newmark
"Several of the issues raised by the public in the Open Debate Coalition's submission and voting process were questions our news team never would have thought of ourselves. For example, the opioid epidemic is discussed regularly in political debates here in New Hampshire, but this question from Bridget B. in Portsmouth, NH, gave us a fresh perspective that more directly addresses the day-to-day concerns of voters: 'What will you do to make it easier for people in recovery to get jobs?' The Open Debate Coalition is helping to expand the list of standard questions that candidates get asked over and over in traditional debates into issues that more directly impact the lives of viewers."
- Robb Atkinson
Senior Vice President & News Director
NH1 News Network
"We're proud to be members of the cross-partisan Open Debate Coalition to help ensure that debates fully represent the diverse views of all Americans."
- Roberta Combs
President and CEO
Christian Coalition of America
"For years, conversations about immigrants have been held without including immigrant families themselves, and this exciting effort will change that. This will be a rare opportunity to have candidates for the most critical position in the world respond directly to those they’ll represent: the increasingly diverse American public.”
- Jose Antonio Vargas
Founder & CEO
"NumbersUSA will reach out to the seven million Americans in our network, urging them to participate in this innovative bottom-up process to ensure that moderators can engage on topics such as immigration and border security in a way that educates voters and truly addresses their questions."
- Roy Beck
"A truly open debate would allow the public to select the questions. The media still choose the questions, leaving the people out of the process. It's not enough to feign interest in the people's opinion, you have to walk the walk by giving voters the chance to see their most important questions asked, the ones that the greatest number of people care about."
- Mindy Finn
Republican strategist and
Founder and President
"We are reshuffling the norms... In the future, voters must 'own' the debates -- and we demand debates that are democratic, transparent, and accountable to the public."
- Larry Lessig
Professor of Law and Leadership
Harvard Law School
"What we're advocating is that people will ask questions no moderator will ask. Individuals rank and vote on the questions and you allow the wisdom of the crowds to rank and choose."
- David Kralik
Former Internet Strategy Director
Newt Gingrich's American Solutions
"Networks are not only embracing new technology, but new communities. Their willingness to loosen the reins a bit will go a long way towards improving our politics as more and more people get involved."
- Michael Krempasky