For the next presidential debate, you'll be able to vote online for questions that could be asked of the candidates. The debate's organizers announced this morning that they're working with the Open Debate Coalition to source questions online through the new site presidentialopenquestions.com.
At the site, people can submit and vote on questions for the candidates. The top 30 questions will be eligible for consideration — although there's no guarantee that even a single question from the website will make it on air.
This is the first time the Commission on Presidential Debates has considered questions submitted by online voting, and it seems to be viewing it more as an experiment than a true part of the second debate.
"Voter-submitted questions ... carry greater weight."
In a statement, Mike McCurry, co-chair of the Commission on Presidential Debates, said he was "impressed" by the results of Open Debate Coalition's work with online voting, which was on display earlier in the year. "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," McCurry said.
The Commission on Presidential Debates will also be sourcing online questions from Facebook. It's not clear if those will necessarily make it into the debate either, but they'll be presented to the moderators from CNN and ABC.
That makes the internet's presence pretty ambiguous here, since there's no requirement that even a single online question be put on the air. And given that the questions are all on pretty popular subjects — securing the border, protecting the Second Amendment, requiring voter ID (they're leaning pretty conservative right now) — it's not evident how much of an impact they'd have on the questions that would have come up anyway.
The next presidential debate, on October 9th, will use a town hall format, with half its questions coming from "citizen participants" and half from the moderators.