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Format and Rules for The Idaho Debates

2012 General Election
Idaho Press Club / League of Women Voters / Idaho Public Television

Candidates may bring notes and prepared questions to use during the forum. You may not bring props to display from the stage.

Once production of a debate begins, it will continue even if only one candidate remains on the set.

This will be a 60-minute debate.

Each candidate will open with a 60-second answer to the question "Why are you running for this seat?"

The format is fluid, with an Idaho Public Television moderator and three reporters chosen by the Idaho Press Club.

  • A reporter will ask a candidate a question.
  • That candidate will respond. The other candidate will also be given a chance to respond.
  • Response time may be limited by the moderator
  • The moderator will allow some cross talk and/or follow-up from reporters as well as additional questions from the moderator.
  • At a certain point, the moderator will move on to another topic.
  • Every attempt will be made to keep time equal among candidates, but that cannot be guaranteed. The moderator has the authority to manage response and discussion time.

Each candidate will be allowed one and a half minutes for closing remarks

  • Order of seating and closing remarks will be determined by draw of names or numbers.
  • League members will be timekeepers.
  • Audience members must remain quiet during the debate.

Criteria for choosing candidates in the Idaho Debates

In our debates, we include candidates who are conducting active campaigns. We have established reasonable, viewpoint-neutral criteria for that - following guidance in the U.S. Supreme Court decision, Arkansas vs Forbes (96-779) - and limit debate participation to candidates who are conducting active campaigns.

We ask candidates to submit materials that demonstrate an active campaign for office; and we issue invitations to debate to those candidates who meet the criteria for an active campaign.

Individuals currently holding the office do not need to supply documentation of an active campaign.

The criteria for primary election consideration:

  • Evidence of widely distributed campaign literature, and samples of the literature.
  • The name, phone number, cellular telephone number, e-mail address and mailing address of the campaign manager and names of any campaign staff, paid or volunteer. Three to five names is sufficient.
  • Evidence of at least two campaign appearances in the year 2012, both of which were open to the general public and one of which is at least 200 miles from another. The appearances may be coffees, picnics, or speeches at public gatherings. Provide the name and phone number of the local sponsor or a newspaper clipping to verify the event. Invitations to other television or radio programs or debates or editorial meetings do not qualify.
  • Any additional evidence of an active campaign.

Note that the criteria have nothing whatsoever to do with the amount of money, however much or little, a candidate is spending.