Each one-hour debate will be divided among substantive subject areas. For example, there will be a segment primarily dedicated to domestic national issues, another devoted to international issues, and a third focused on Delaware state and regional issues. There may also be segments focusing on narrower subject areas, such as immigration, health care, the judiciary, the responsibilities of branches of government, the role of media and government information, and Constitutional issues.
The number of segments, the subject areas, the length and the order of discussion during the debate shall be determined exclusively by the moderator and the producers. Candidates will be advised before the beginning of the debate of the subject areas of the segments in their debate, with the intention of forestalling repetition by allowing the candidates to reserve their remarks for the appropriate segment.
The segments―indeed the entire debate―are designed to be fair and even-handed to every candidate.
Candidates are expected to confine their answers to moderator questions to about 90-seconds (or less) each, with the intention of keeping the discussion focused rather than general. The moderator and production staff will keep candidates informed of their elapsed time, and they will enforce the limits. This is not to limit what the candidates say, but rather to ensure that the overall debate can broadly cover the field of subjects of interest to voters in the time allowed.
It is the intent of the producers to encourage the candidates to "discuss" with each other some of the answers to the questions posed by the moderators, not merely to deliver scripted answers. Therefore, the moderator may prompt follow-up discussion of certain questions, following the candidates' initial responses.
The debate may include a "lightning round" of short questions and short answers, designed to deal with some issues for which candidate positions are important to voters, but need not necessarily involve deep explanations. If a "lightning round" is conducted, candidates are expected to keep their answers to 60-seconds or less.