Change the Rule

Open up the presidential debates

Make room for an independent voice

Everyone knows you can't win

the presidency

without being in the debates

But did you know

that a private organization called the Commission on Presidential Debates
makes the rules for who gets in? It's supposed to be a “nonpartisan, objective”
body, but the members are chosen by Democratic and Republican party insiders.

Does that seem nonpartisan
or objective to you?



that forces independent candidates
to meet an impossible polling threshold
only 7 weeks before the election.

No candidate who did not compete in
a primary has scaled this barrier since
the televised debates began in 1960.

Until this rule is changed

Americans won't see an independent candidate
in the debates. It will remain the status quo:
Democrats and Republicans only.

Did you know


of Americans say it's important
to have independents run for office


would vote for an independent
for president in 2016.

To break the two-party stranglehold
on who can become President,

all we have to do is


One rule

CPD Rule

Only one way in:
A fixed 15% polling hurdle,
decided just 7 weeks before
the election

  • 1. The polls they use are just a snapshot in time, not a predictor of Election Day results;
  • 2. A 15% polling threshold requires 60-80% national name recognition at a cost of approximately $270 million, an amount of money that no independent candidate has ever raised nor any billionaire has ever spent;
  • 3. By delaying its decision about who gets into the debates the CPD creates uncertainty about an independent candidate’s chances until it’s too late to be competitive; and
  • 4. Evidence shows that polls in three-way races are grossly inaccurate.

Fair Rule

More than one way in:
A signature competition,
grounded in ballot access
laws, decided by April 30th

  • 1. There must be a competition - not an arbitrary polling hurdle - open to all non-major party candidates;
  • 2. The competition must feature direct voter engagement in order to measure a candidate's relative strengths and legitimacy; and
  • 3. The competition must yield one winner by April 30th allowing enough time for earned media to boost his or her national name recognition, so that by Election Day it would be equivalent to the Democratic and Republican nominees.

We propose an additional rule that we think is a far better indicator of national support and demonstrates the grassroots organization necessary to mount a legitimate presidential bid – a ballot access signature competition.

The new rule would work as follows: On April 30 any candidate, party, or nominating process with ballot access in states that collectively have at least 270 Electoral College votes would notify the CPD of that access.

If there is more than one, then whoever has gathered the most signatures as part of the ballot access process will participate in the debates with the Democratic and Republican nominees. Under this new rule, for the first time in our history, an independent candidate can be designated to be in the debates at least six months before the election.

Change the Rule

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