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Published On: Wed, Apr 20th, 2016

David Jolly, Alan Grayson set open Senate debate for April 25

The bipartisan Open Debate Coalition announced that Republican Congressman David Jolly (FL-13) and Democratic Congressman Alan Grayson (FL-9) will participate in a first-ever Open Debate for U.S. Senate, where regular people submit and vote on questions in advance – and moderators must choose from the Top 30 vote-getters. This in-person studio debate will take place in Orlando at 7pm EDT on Monday, April 25.

Question submission and voting is now open at FloridaOpenDebate.com and lasts through 12pm EDT on Monday, April 25.

Anyone across the nation can submit and vote on questions. Only Florida votes will be counted when selecting questions, but others can cast votes to impact which questions are trending on the site – influencing which questions Florida voters see and vote on most.

Congressman Alan Grayson Image/US Congress

Congressman Alan Grayson
Image/US Congress

The debate is hosted by the Open Debate Coalition, which was started in 2008 and includes Republican, Democratic, and Silicon Valley leaders. (See a list of coalition members and the Open Debate Coalition statement below.) Early leaders in the coalition include Progressive Change Institute co-founders Adam Green and Stephanie Taylor and Americans For Tax Reform President Grover Norquist.

The Commission On Presidential Debates indicated they are looking to this Florida debate and similar Open Debates as they seek innovative formats for the 2016 general election. (See statement below.)

“At a time when a corrupt campaign finance system and rigged voting laws are damaging our democracy, Open Debates are a bright spot for our democracy – empowering regular people in an unprecedented way. We hope this historic event helps makes Open Debates the norm in the future, from state and local races to Congress and all the way up to President,” said coalition leaders Adam Green and Stephanie Taylor, Co-Founders of the Progressive Change Institute. Another coalition leader, Americans For Tax Reform President Grover Norquist, added, “Hopefully, numerous Open Debates happen this 2016 cycle – including in the race for President.”

Debate moderators will include The Young Turks, which is the #1 news channel on YouTube with over 3 billion views, and Independent Journal Review, which is the #1 news channel on vine and has 30-40 million monthly unique viewers. Other distribution channels will be announced in coming days.An unprecedented “open video feed” will allow any website or TV station to broadcast top-quality debate footage live or re-broadcast later without violating copyright. The coalition hopes this leads to millions of new debate viewers online this cycle, especially younger viewers. The coalition’s logo was designed by artist Shep Fairey, who designed the iconic Obama “Hope” image.

An unprecedented “open video feed” will allow any website or TV station to broadcast top-quality debate footage live or re-broadcast later without violating copyright. The coalition hopes this leads to millions of new debate viewers online this cycle, especially younger viewers. The coalition’s logo was designed by artist Shep Fairey, who designed the iconic Obama “Hope” image.

Grayson and Jolly announced they would hold debates together on March 1, 2016. The Open Debate Coalition reached out about participating in an Open Debate, and both candidates agreed.

The Open Debate Coalition used the invitation criteria of the Commission on Presidential Debates. Every candidate in the Democratic and Republican Senate primary was invited if they averaged 15% or more support in publicly released polls taken in 2016. Grayson and Jolly accepted the invitation, and Congressman Patrick Murphy (D-18) declined.

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