Here's Your Chance to Question the Candidates

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton during presidential debate on Sept. 16, 2016
Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton during presidential debate on Sept. 16, 2016

The second presidential debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton will have a different format than the first. It will take the form of a town meeting, with half of the questions posed directly by participants in the audience and the other half by the moderator. The moderator's questions are to be based on topics of broad public interest from social media and other sources.

One potential source, the Open Debate Coalition, is collecting questions from the general public. You can suggest one of your own at  presidentialopenquestions.com, or vote for one someone else has already posted on a wide variety of issues.  The only restrictions are that you can't name a candidate, and either candidate must be able to answer your question. CNN and ABC, who are co-hosting the debate, have agreed to take the site's 30 most popular questions into consideration for the debate.

When we checked there were 10,432 suggestions and counting. The top vote-getter (with more than 41-thousand votes) as of Oct. 5 was about requiring criminal background checks for buying guns. Social security, healthcare, climate change and repeal of Citizens United were all in the top ten. A drop down menu on the site lets you sort through the questions by most or fewest votes, newest or oldest, or most votes since the last debate.

The Coalition is made up of progressives, conservatives, and Silicon Valley leaders -- including the founders of Craigslist and Wikipedia; Arianna Huffington; and George W. Bush. It was formed in 2008 "to make debates more representative of the will of the people." 

In the debate on Sunday evening, the candidates will have two minutes to respond to each question and the moderator can take an additional minute to facilitate further discussion. The participants who get to ask questions from the audience will be uncommitted voters selected by the Gallup Organization. The debate starts at 6 p.m. Pacific time and is scheduled to last 90-minutes.



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