Watch tonight's presidential debate at 9 pm ET

 “[Debates] are the only opportunities the voters have to see and hear the candidates talk about the same things at the same time — and to take a real time comparative measure of them.”

-          Jim Lehrer, Debate Moderator

Tonight presidential candidates President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney will square off in the first of three debates. Debates provide candidates with a platform to speak directly to voters in their own words, rather than through ads and negative campaigning by outside groups. They provide voters an important opportunity to learn more about the candidates and their positions on the issues that matter most to you and to your community.

Watching the debates with a careful eye allows voters to get the most information possible, so gather your family and friends for a debate watching party and use our Debate Watching 101 Guide as you settle in for tonight’s debate!

Watch

The first presidential debate is scheduled for tonight at 9:00 pm ET, and will focus on domestic policy issues, including the economy, the role of government and health care. The 90-minute debate will be moderated by Jim Lehrer of PBS News Hour and includes time for the candidates to engage in a more open discussion of the issues.

Learn

Use the League’s comprehensive Debate Watching 101 Guide to get the most out of the debate!

This election may be the most important of our lifetime, and it really isn’t about the day-to-day battles between candidates. It’s about voters, like you. It’s about your job, your health, your community, your future. Tune in to the debate to learn more about where the candidates stand on the issues most important to you.

Discuss

Discuss your impressions of the debate and presidential candidates with your friends and family, and make sure they’re registered to vote – registration deadlines in many states fall in early October.

Use VOTE411.org to do your own comparison of the presidential candidates and to build a personalized voting guide that will include up-to-date information you need to cast your ballot, including your polling place, and important deadlines to remember.

Join with your neighbors in voting on Election Day, and thank you for making democracy work.