Florida Open Debate launched ahead of the upcoming, bi-partisan debate between candidates for the Florida Senate. The site, which crowdsources debate questions from the general public, was met with national acclaim. Citizens can not only submit questions, but also vote on which ones matter most. Caktus helped develop the tool on behalf of the Open Debate Coalition (ODC), a non-partisan organization dedicated to supporting participatory democracy through the use of civic tech.
The coalition formed during the 2008 presidential election to combat a sharp decline in voter participation as well as lack of representation in the debate arena. According to The Los Angeles Times “the job of designing and choosing questions is left to the media host.” The ODC recognized the need to increase participation from and provide access to the debate system by reaching as many American citizens as possible.
"The tool truly is an open forum for US citizens to participate in the political process,” says Ben Riseling, Caktus project manager. “Anyone can submit a question and vote on which questions should or should not be discussed. We’re extremely honored to be asked to participate in making this site available during this election season.”
The debate between Florida Senate candidate David Jolly (R) and Alan Grayson (D) takes place Monday, April 25th at 7:00 pm EDT and will be live streamed on the Florida Open Debate site itself.