With three presidential debates set for the Fall, starting in September, and one vice presidential debate sandwiched in between them, the rubber is now hitting the road for the venues selected to host these pivotal exercises in American democracy. The second presidential debate, scheduled for October 15, was set to be held at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, but concerns over Coronavirus prompted the university to withdraw from hosting the event.
In the end, for the University of Michigan leadership, disrupting their re-opening plan in October simply wasn’t coinciding well with a large media circus of a debate happening in the middle of it:
University President Mark Schlissel sent a letter to the Commission on Presidential Debates explaining that coronavirus concerns made the logistics too difficult for the school to pull off.
“Given the scale and complexity of the work we are undertaking to help assure a safe and healthy fall for our students, faculty and staff and limited visitors — and in consideration of the public health guidelines in our state as well as advice from our own experts — we feel it is not feasible for us to safely host the presidential debate as planned,” he wrote.
Luckily, every presidential election year, the Commission on Presidential Debates also selects alternate debate sites to serve as a backup in case any of the originally selected venues are unable to fulfill their duties as a debate host. This can sometimes be for various reasons, such as a lack of funding, or some other logistical issue.
Instead of Michigan, the October 15 presidential debate will be heading south, very south, to the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami, Florida:
The Commission on Presidential Debates announced the debate will instead be held at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami. The venue hosted the first debates of the Democratic presidential primary last summer.
The debate’s Oct. 15 date will not change. As of right now, the other two face-to-face showdowns between President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden remain unchanged: Sept. 29 at the University of Notre Dame, just outside South Bend, Ind.; and Oct. 22 at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn.
The date remains the same, so there is no disruption to the schedule of these debates which are held roughly a week apart from one another:
Tuesday, September 29, 2020
First Presidential Debate
University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN
Wednesday, October 7, 2020
Vice Presidential Debate
The University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT
Thursday, October 15, 2020
Second Presidential Debate
The Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, Miami, FL
Thursday, October 22, 2020
Third Presidential Debate
Belmont University, Nashville, TN
Ticketing information is sparse and usually reserved for the host university to distribute tickets among students and faculty.
In the case of the Miami debate, the host venue is a performing arts center so there is no word on whether public tickets will be available. For ticketing details, see our dedicated debate tickets page for more information.
As we previously noted, President Trump has been seeking to have more than the three scheduled debates, hoping to push former vice president Joe Biden into having up to six debates before Election Day. That scenario is unlikely, however, as Biden has committed to the traditional three debates already and scoffed at the notion of adding more.
Bookmark and follow out 2020 Presidential Debate Schedule page for all debate information including start times, TV schedules, live stream links, and more.