Taking a cue from the lottery–sans ping pong balls, CNN announced that they will hold a live drawing on July 18 starting at 8 p.m. The debates themselves are scheduled for July 30 and 31 in Detroit, Michigan.
Twenty-five Democrats are vying for their party’s presidential nomination, but qualifying rules set by the DNC state only 20 candidates, split across two nights, are eligible to participate in the debates. The rules state that candidates must either register 1% support in three qualified polls or have 65,000 unique donors to their campaign, with a minimum of 200 different donors per state in at least 20 states to qualify.
The 20 candidates who qualify will be notified by the DNC and CNN on the evening of July 17, with the drawing for who will appear on which night being held the following night.
In addition to the live drawing, CNN announced rules for the debate:
- Colored lights will be used to help the candidates manage their remaining response times: 15 seconds = yellow; 5 seconds = flashing red; no time remaining = solid red.
- A candidate attacked by name by another candidate will be given 30 seconds to respond.
- There will be no show of hands or one-word, down-the-line questions.
- A candidate who consistently interrupts will have his or her time reduced.
- Questions posed by the moderators will appear on the bottom of the screen for television viewers.
The debate moderators will be Dana Bash, Don Lemon, and Jake Tapper.