The Commission on Presidential Debates is rejecting President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign’s request for a fourth and earlier debate.
In a letter to Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani, the commission said it was “pleased” that both Trump and presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden had agreed to three debates.
However, the commission said it did not agree with the Trump campaign’s assessment that voters should get a chance to see the candidates debate before mail-in ballots are sent out in several states.
“In your letter, you express the Trump campaign’s interest in a presidential debate in early September. You state that such a debate is necessary because some states begin sending out mail-in ballots before the first scheduled debate,” the commission wrote to Giuliani.
The letter continued, “There is a difference between ballots having been issued by a state and those ballots having been cast by voters, who are under no compulsion to return their ballots before the debates.”
Read the letter below:
NEWS Commission on Presidential Debates rejects Giuliani's request for a fourth debate in early Sept, saying voters who get their ballots before the first scheduled debate are not compelled to submit them before the debate. They also push back on his request to choose moderators. pic.twitter.com/Uow32SZeKx— Jennifer Epstein (@jeneps) August 6, 2020
Additionally, the commission noted that in 2016, ballots were mailed to voters before the first debate, and “only .0069% of the electorate had voted” before the first debate.
And while the letter noted that it is likely there will be many more votes cast by mail, “The debate schedule has been and will be highly publicized. Any voter who wishes to watch one or more debates before voting will be well aware of that opportunity.”
The letter went on to say that while the commission believes three debates are sufficient “to fulfill the voter education purposes,” it would consider a request for more debates if both Trump and Biden asked for them.
On Wednesday, Giuliani sent a letter to the commission to request a fourth and earlier debate, as IJR reported. He wrote, “Simply put, the Commission’s current approach is an outdated dinosaur and not reflective of voting realities in 2020.”
He argued, “For a nation already deprived of a traditional campaign schedule because of the COVID-19 global pandemic, it makes no sense to also deprive so many Americans of the opportunity to see and hear the two competing visions for our country’s future before millions of votes have been cast.”