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The Citizens' Debate Commission

It's time to fix the presidential debate process. The CPD deprives voters of an accurate choice and robust debate. Under CPD sponsorship, debate viewership has declined.

The presidential debates cannot be fixed through legal or legislative channels. The only viable solution is to replace the CPD with a truly nonpartisan sponsor committed to maximizing voter education. "It is not a bi- or tripartisan commission that is needed, but a neutral commission," said Marvin Kalb, former moderator of "Meet the Press."

In 2004, Open Debates formed a nonpartisan Citizens' Debate Commission to sponsor future presidential debates. The Citizens' Debate Commission consists of national civic leaders from the left, center and right of the political spectrum who are committed to maximizing voter education.  The Citizens' Debate Commission has been endorsed by dozens of newspapers around the country, such as the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Sun-Times.

The following sixteen civic leaders have served on the Citizens' Debate Commission:

John B. Anderson
Former U.S. Congressman, former presidential candidate, and current chair of the Center for Voting and Democracy

Angela Bay Buchanan
President of the The American Cause and former U.S Treasurer

Veronica De La Garza
Former executive director of the Youth Vote Coalition and consultant to the U.S. State Department

Norman Dean
Vice-President of Cooler, Inc. and former executive director of Friends of the Earth and chair of CERES

George Farah
Executive director of Open Debates, attorney at Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll, and author of No Debate

Tom Fitton
President of Judicial Watch

Tom Gerety
NYU Law Professor, former executive director of the Brennan Center for Justice, and former President of Amherst College

Jehmu Greene
Political commentator, former executive director of Rock the Vote, on the board of the American Prospect Magazine

Alan Keyes
Former GOP presidential candidate, former Ambassador to the United Nations, and chairman of the Declaration Foundation

Jeff Milchen
Founder and Outreach Director of the American Independent Business Alliance, and Executive Director of

Larry Noble
General Counsel with Skadden Arps, former executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics, and former general counsel of the Federal Election Commission

Tony Perkins
President of the Family Research Council and a former Louisiana state representative

Chellie Pingree
Congresswoman from Maine, former President and CEO of Common Cause, and former Maine Senate Majority leader

Randall Robinson
Author and Founder of TransAfrica Forum

Dan Stein
Executive director of the Federation for American Immigration Reform

Mark Weisbrot
Co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research

Following in the footsteps of the League of Women Voters, the Citizens' Debate Commission would operate with full transparency and sponsor debates that serve American voters, not political parties, first.  The Citizens' Debate Commission would employ engaging formats and fair candidate selection criteria.

The higher values of democracy and voter education would be restored to the presidential debates by the Citizens' Debate Commission.

Related Links
Failed Legal and Legislative Remedies
The CDC Proposal