Format for Candidates Debate

* All candidates need to arrive 15 minutes prior to the event. At that time, numbers will be drawn for the speaking order for the opening, and subsequent rotation. A second number will be drawn for the speaking order for the closing.

* Name plates and seating will be arranged based on the opening/rotation order.

* There will be water pitchers and cups for each candidate.

* The opening will commence by the moderator, welcoming everyone and explaining the rules.

* There will be a screen with a count down timer. You can see this now at — feel free to play with it (I suggest the 30 second test time so you don’t sit there forever. Use the “Start/Stop Timer” button.). The timer will show a green light when the timing has begun. 75% into the time allotted, the light will turn yellow. At the end of the time, it will turn red. 5 seconds after the end of the time, it will start to flash and the moderator will interrupt and move to the next speaker.

Example 1: One minute time
0-44 seconds: Green
45-59 seconds: Yellow
60-64 seconds: Red
65 seconds: flashing

Example 2: Two minute time
0-89 seconds: Green
90-119 seconds: Yellow
120-124 seconds: Red
125 seconds: flashing

Example 4: Four minute time
0-179 seconds: Green
180-239 seconds: Yellow
240-244 seconds: Red
245 seconds: flashing

Should there be technical difficulties with the automated timing system, a backup “card” system will be used instead, with the same colors (green, yellow, red). And, the time keeper will attempt a human version of flashing. 🙂

* Opening statements have a 4 minute limit. The purpose of this statement is to introduce yourself, give your qualifications, and tell why you are running for the office.

* All candidates are asked to stay after the forum so they can talk to individuals who may still have questions.

* The questions will come from a combination of those in the audience and the moderator on behalf of the community. Audience questions will be submitted to the moderator in advance in an attempt to avoid duplication of topics, and to keep within the spirit of the debate. Questions asked by the moderator come from the community, but will remain anonymous.

* Personal or targeted attack questions will not be tolerated. Questions must be on relevant topics, and appropriate. If a non-approved question is asked by an audience member, the moderator will interrupt and pass over the question. One question per person, and audience is not allowed follow ups. Moderator may ask a follow up question.

* There is no mechanism for rebuttals. Although, if a candidate feels it appropriate or important enough, they can use part of their time on their next question to address something from earlier. However, no extra time is allotted.

* Candidate answers to questions have a 1 minute limit. Each candidate will answer the questions asked. The time limit does not include the asking of the question.

* For answers to questions, the order of candidates will be rotated. The first question will be answered by speaker 2 (speaker one started the opening statements round). For example, the order would look as follows:

Question A:
Speaker 2
Speaker 3
Speaker 4
Speaker 1

Question B:
Speaker 3
Speaker 4
Speaker 1
Speaker 2

and so on.

* Approximately 10 minutes prior to conclusion (as determined by moderator), closing statements will begin

* Closing statements have a 2 minute limit. The purpose of this statement is to summarize their positions and make any final comments.

* The debate will be a total of at least one hour, and no more than two, with slightly less than 90 minutes to be the target time. Flexibility will be based on the number of questions asked, and at the moderator’s discretion, how things are flowing.

* While there may be last minute changes, this is the currently planned layout for the setup. The arrangement of the room will be 2 long tables, side by side, with two candidates each at the tables. The moderator will be at a separate table to the side. Microphone setup has yet to be determined, and may involve sharing between speakers. Tables will all be at floor level.

* Campaign materials are permitted at the rear of the room for all candidates. Large signs and placards will not be permitted but buttons and badges on clothing are permissible.

* All candidates agree that they will appear in person, and that no substitute can represent them.

* All candidates understand and agree that the event is expected to have local media, and will be videotaped with the intention to broadcast on local cable channels as well as via the Internet.