Election Debates is dedicated to improving the quality of election debates and election debate coverage by critically assessing the quality or arguments and performance of speakers.
At Election Debates you will find election debate opinions by some of the world’s foremost experts on competitive debate. Our judges include winners of prestigious international debate tournaments and authors of respected debate publications. Blogger judges come from Australia, North America, Europe and Asia.
You’ll enjoy the detail, depth and objectivity of our assessments. We aim to provide detailed reasoning, that looks beyond political spin and media hype to the actual issues being debated. We do this by applying the rules of debate.
You won’t always agree with us, just as we don’t always agree. Indeed, there are two types of decisions you’ll find at Election Debates: a unanimous one (where we all agree on the result) and a split one (where we are divided).
Election Debates is a not for profit entity. We have no corporate, government, NGO or political affiliations. Our contributors do not get paid; we are motivated by an interest in debate and politics and a desire to see the modern phenomenon of televised leaders debates benefit the community.
Election Debates was founded by Ray D’Cruz in 2008 in the lead up to the US Presidential Elections. Election Debates has now covered televised leaders’ debates from the US, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Ireland.
Statement of Purpose & Principles
To improve the quality of election debate analysis
To stimulate public discussion about election debates
To educate the public and stakeholders about debates and the value of debate
To develop relationships with media and debate associations
Objectivity: we will analayse debates by applying the objective rules of debate. These rules will be applied rigorously in order to ensure an impartial, unbiased assessment, regardless of the adjudicators personal or political opinions.
Respect: we will not publish comments which may be considered offensive or discriminatory. We want to encourage widespread participation in debate discussion based on mutual respect.
Adjudication Criteria & Process
We assess debates according to the World Parliamentary Debate Rules. These rules are used by the World Universities Debating Championships, World Masters and numerous national parliamentary competitions. We have chosen a single assessment method for judging so that visitors can benchmark judge opinions, debaters and debates.
Judges decide who won the debate and provide reasons for their decision. Assessing persuasiveness comes down to two areas: matter (or substance) and manner (or style). There are a range of capabilities judges assess in considering these two areas. There is no one approach that works and judges do not apply a tick-a-box approach to their assessment. They consider matter and manner in order to assess the overall persuasiveness of the speaker and their arguments.
Some discretion needs to be exercised in the application of these rules. For example, the rules describe team debates while most election debates feature individuals. Furthermore, the rules contemplate points of information coming from an opposing speaker, while most election debates feature questioning from an independent, expert panel. Nevertheless, the underlying principles of persuasion remain the same and can be applied regardless of the structure or format of the debate.
Judges view and assess the debate without conferring with each other. Within 6 hours of completion of the debate a judge will file their adjudication with the chair of the panel (noting the winner, speaker scores and the reasons for their decision). These decisions are individually published by the chair.
Once all individual decisions have been filed a final Election Debates’ Verdict will be published. This will either be unanimous (where all judges agreed on the result) or split (where opinion was divided). Some debates only have one adjudicator, in which case the individual adjudication is also the verdict.