US Election 2020

US Election 2020: when are the presidential debates and how many will there be?

Tuesday evening marks the first of three televised debates between incumbent president Donald Trump and his challenger, Democrat Joe Biden.

US Election 2020: when are the presidential debates and how many will there be?
JIM WATSON BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI AFP

The general election in the US is looming. There are only 36 days until voting opens on November 3. Networks are expecting huge viewing figures: The first televised debate in the 2016 general election drew 84 million viewers, according to Pew Research Center. It is believed that at least 10% of voters's decisions will be influenced by these debates, so there is a lot to play for.

When can I watch the debates?

There are three presidential debates scheduled ahead of election day.

The first presidential debate is scheduled for tomorrow night. It will be televised on September 29 at 21:00 ET from in Cleveland, Ohio and will be moderated by Fox News Sunday anchor Chris Wallace. The format and topic of the debate is detailed below.

Follow the first debate between Trump and Biden live

The second debate on October 15 in Miami, Florida is due to be moderated by Steve Scully of C-SPAN Networks. This debate will feel different to the first. The questions will be posed by citizens from the South Florida area, according to the commission. The participants will be uncommitted voters selected under the supervision of Frank Newport of Gallup, CNN have reported. The candidates will have two minutes to respond to each question and there will be an additional minute for the moderator to facilitate further discussion.

The third and final debate will be held on October 22 in Nashville, Tennessee and moderated by Kristen Welker of NBC News.

Vice-President Mike Pence and California Senator Kamala Harris will also go head-to-head in a televised debate, due to take place on 7 October in Salt Lake City, Utah. It will be moderated by Susan Page of USA Today. This debate will be divided into nine segments of about 10 minutes each, and each candidate will have two minutes to respond to the moderator's opening question, following which a deeper discussion of each topic will be held.

All debates will take place from 21:00 - 22:30 ET, with no commercial interruptions.

What's the format for the first debate?

Six questions in six key topics, with 15 minutes each.

The key topics are; Trump and Biden's records, the supreme court, Covid-19 pandemic, race protests and violence in our cities, integrity of the election, the economy.

Both Trump and Biden will have two minutes each to respond to the question before the debate for each topic begins.

See Reuters simple analysis of where both candidates stand on some of the key issues in 2020’s presidential race