NYC Hosts First-Ever Mayoral Open Debate

HISTORY MADE:First-Ever Bottom-Up Mayoral Open Debate in NYC

De Blasio, Malliotakis, & Dietl answer questions chosen by NYC voters on issues like homelessness, police accountability, immigration, public schools, real estate development, & subway delays.

50% of questions chosen from top 40 submitted and voted on by the public at Open Debate Coalition online forum. Over 44,000 votes cast.

Tonight, the Open Debate Coalition and NY1 News made history with the first-ever, bottom-up mayoral Open Debate. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio (D), Nicole Malliotakis (R), and Bo Dietl (I) participated in the debate aired on NY1 and livestreamed online here.
Moderators dedicated half of the 90-minute debate to top questions submitted and voted on by the public at the bottom-up platform, Over 44,000 votes were cast on hundreds of user-submitted questions. See questions asked during the debate below.
Six questions from were asked tonight (see list below), covering topics like homelessness, police accountability, public schools, immigration, real estate development, and subway delays. Several questions asked tonight were also inspired by the user-submitted questions, including whether to close Rikers Island and views on congestion pricing.

Lilia Tamm Dixon, director of the Open Debate Coalition said:
“Tonight’s Open Debate helped prove that bottom-up debates where voters get a say should be the new norm in American politics. Debates help voters make important decisions, and so the people should always have a say in what topics would most help them make those choices, for races up and down the ballot. The Open Debate Coalition has had great success in having questions from the public included in presidential, governor, senate, and now mayoral debates, and we are very excited to bring our bottom-up format to next week’s comptroller and public advocate debates, too.”
The same platform will also be used to source questions from the public for next week’s public advocate and comptroller debates, on Oct. 16 and 17, respectively.

Facts about the Open Debate Coalition:

Tonight’s debate between New York Mayor Bill de Blasio (D), Nicole Malliotakis (R), and Bo Dietl (I) marks the first-ever mayoral open debate. Over 44,000 votes were cast on hundreds questions submitted by regular Americans at
Next week, the Coalition will also partner with NY1 News on the first-ever open debates for New York City public advocate (Oct. 16) and comptroller (Oct. 17). The cross-partisan Open Debate Coalition partnered with NY1 News, Politico, WNYC, Citizens Union, Intelligence Squared, the Latino Leadership Institute, and Civic Hall on this historic project.

Strange bedfellows:
The cross-partisan Open Debate Coalition which was formed during the 2008 election cycle and includes Americans for Tax Reform, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, FreedomWorks, MoveOn, Faith & Freedom Coalition, the National Organization of Women, craigslist founder Craig Newmark, Electronic Frontier Foundation President Cindy Cohn, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, and many more (See full list of coalition members here).

The Open Debate Coalition was cited in the last two presidential debates by ABC’s Martha Raddatz on Oct. 9, 2016, and Fox’s Chris Wallace on Oct. 19, 2016
. These were the first times that questions derived from the internet were asked at a Commission on Presidential Debates- sponsored debate. For the Oct. 9 town hall, ABC and CNN agreed to consider 30 most popular questions voted up by the public at, where nearly 4 million votes were cast.

In 2016, the Open Debate Coalition partnered with NH1 for the first-ever general election U.S. Senate debate between Maggie Hassan (D) and Kelly Ayotte (R).
Over 125,000 votes were cast on over 470 questions submitted by at The Coalition partnered with NH1 on the first-ever gubernatorial Open Debate — also in New Hampshire, between Colin Van Ostern (D) and Chris Sununu (R).

In 2008, President Obama and Senator McCain endorsed the coalition’s call for bottom-up questions, but the CPD did not incorporate the idea until 2016
. The Open Debate Coalition successfully held open debates in the 2013 special election for Congress in Massachusetts and in the 2016 U.S. Senate debate in Florida. Between the two open debates, more than 2,500 questions were submitted and over 450,000 votes were cast. The Florida debate received over half a million views and was aired on C-SPAN several times. The AP reported, “Both candidates said they enjoyed the format…saying they were more substantive than a typical debate would have been.”

Local grassroots groups promoted the New York Open Debates on social media,
including: Gateway Plaza Tenants, Generation Citizen, Agree New York, Angels4Autism, NLC New York, Liberty Awakes, NYC Veterans Alliance, Watchdog, Greenmap, Sane Energy Project, We ACT for EJ, Queens Community House, Brotherhood Sister Sol, Beauty Marks NYC, and many more.
National groups and celebrities backing the Open Debate Coalition on social media include: NRA, Everytown, NARAL, NAACP, Americans For Tax Reform, Progressive Change Campaign Committee, George Takei, Mark Ruffalo, Arianna Huffington, Rosario Dawson, Craig Newmark, Jimmy Wales, Ben & Jerry’s, Star Jones, Ultraviolet, Planned Parenthood, Define American, NumbersUSA, Young Democrats, Young Republicans, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, Southern Poverty Law Center, Color of Change, Presente,, Young Conservatives for Energy Reform, Social Security Works, Demos, Sierra Club, Sierra Student Coalition, Girls Who Code, Alzheimer’s Association, Democracy for America, Bill Moyers, Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, Shailene Woodley, Common Cause, Legal Defense Fund, LGBTQ Task Force, Cenk Uygur, Shepard Fairey, The Young Turks, Brave New Films, Bettermarkets, Cory Doctorow, Tim O’Reilly, Denis O’Hare,, Dean Baker, Jose Antonio Vargas, Feeding America, New Leaders Council, Science Coalition, Union of Concerned Scientists, Teaching Tolerance, Coalition on Human Needs, Disability Rights NJ, NYC Mayor’s Office of People with Disability, One Virginia 2021, Oregon Housing Alliance, ACTE Public Policy, Credit Union National Association, Steve Nash Foundation, Voices for Service, Netroots Nation, Russell Simmons, Rock the Vote, Every Voice, Lawrence Lessig, DailyKos, DailyKos, and Independent Journal Review.

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