The Debate Program is a cornerstone of the CFB’s voter education efforts. It provides New Yorkers with an opportunity to compare candidates side-by-side as they discuss the important issues facing the city.
Candidates for citywide office who join the public matching funds program and meet certain nonpartisan requirements must participate in debates prior to the election. Candidates may be required to meet additional nonpartisan criteria in order to qualify for the second pre-election debate, reserved for “leading contenders”. Candidates who do not join the matching funds program may also be invited to join the debate, provided they meet the same nonpartisan criteria.
Individual debates may be sponsored by organizations that are not affiliated with any political party, candidate, or office holder, and have not endorsed any candidate in a pending citywide election. Past sponsors have included civic groups, academic institutions, and media organizations.