The dates and locations for three presidential debates and one vice presidential debate have been set and their locations were revealed Friday by the Commission on Presidential Debates, a nonprofit that has organized the general-election presidential and vice-presidential faceoffs for more than 30 years.
The first presidential debate will be held at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind. on Sept. 29, 2020. The second debate will be held at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor on Oct. 15, 2020. The third debate will take place at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn. on Oct. 22, 2020.
The University of Utah in Salt Lake City will host the vice presidential debate on Oct. 7, 2020.
Each debate will begin at 9 p.m. ET and run for 90 minutes without commercial breaks, the Commission announced. Further details, including debate formats and moderators, have not yet been disclosed.
Historically, the debates are aired by all of the major broadcast networks, drawing millions of viewers each night.
The Commission, which was established in 1987 and is not sponsored by the government nor by either political party, began soliciting bids from groups interested in hosting the 2020 debates about two years in advance of the election.
Host criteria included having a debate hall measuring at least 15,000 square feet with air conditioning, parking lots with space for at least 40 television remote trucks, trailers and satellite trucks up to 53 feet in length, a guarantee of the complete city services, including public safety personnel, and a financial contribution.
The CPD said it received bids from six separate groups to host a debate. Hartford, Conn. and Creighton University in Omaha, Neb., put in bids but were not selected to host a debate.
Eligible presidential candidates and their running mates will be invited to participate in the scheduled debates after Labor Day 2020.
According to pre-determined criteria, "candidates must appear on a sufficient number of state ballots to have a mathematical chance of winning a majority vote in the Electoral College," and also have at least 15 percent of the national electorate based on polling averages from "five selected national public opinion polling organizations" that are selected based on "the quality of the methodology employed, the reputation of the polling organizations and the frequency of the polling conducted."
“We concluded that the CPD serves its voter education mission best when, in the final weeks of the campaign, based on pre-established, published, objective and transparent criteria, it identifies those individuals whose public support places them among the leading candidates and invites them to debate the issues of the day," CPD co-chair Dorothy Ridings said in a statement. "We also concluded that the best available measure of public support is high-quality public opinion polling conducted near the time of the debates."