Invited candidates: Candidates who qualified through the Georgia Secretary of State’s office to appear on the ballot by name are invited to participate in the debates.
Candidates Declining: Candidates who decline to participate in a debate will be represented by an empty podium.
Panel: Each panel is made up of four politically neutral journalists – a moderator and three questioners. The press club selects the four journalists. Their questions are their own; no one, not the press club nor the candidates, knows the questions in advance.
Candidates do not make opening statements but the moderator provides a brief introduction for each candidate. Props and electronic devices are not allowed on set, but notes and a notepad are allowed.
Round 1: Each candidate is asked at least one question by a panelist.
Round 2: Each candidate asks at least one question to at least of one his or her opponents. (Depending on the timing, candidates may be able to ask two questions each.) Candidates have time for a rebuttal in this round.
Round 3: The panelists take turns asking a question to the candidate of his/her choice until time runs out. The moderator determines when a rebuttal is appropriate.
Closing Statements: Each candidate makes a closing statement.
Timing: Length of time to answer questions, give closing statements, etc. varies from debate to debate depending on how many candidates participate, length of debate, etc.