2018 Indivisible OC-48 Debate Series and Voter Support Score (VSS): Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


Starting February 2018, Indivisible OC-48 will be hosting a series of monthly debates with partner organisations before the 2018 Congressional Primaries on June 5, 2018.


1. How many debates will you host? And what issues will they cover?

  • We will host four debates on: women’s rights and empowerment; climate change and the environment; immigration and foreign affairs; and civil rights and healthcare.


2. Who will be participating in the debates?

  • Each debate will only have five contenders: the incumbent and the four candidates with the highest Voter Support Score (VSS), as calculated by the Voter Support Rubric we developed for this purpose (see below).


3. What is the Voter Support Score (VSS)?

  • Voter Support Score (VSS) is a formula developed by Indivisible OC-48 that measures quantifiable voter support in a transparent and objective way, using publically available data from the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and verified data from the candidates.  

  • Voter Support Score is calculated as follows:


Total Number of Donors in the District x (.45)

$Total Funds Raised by Donors in the District x (.25)

$Total Cash on Hand x (.30)


Final Voter Support Score

  • The largest determining factor of the Voter Support Score (VSS) is the number of individual donations from within the district, regardless of their dollar amount.  


4. Why do you need a Voter Support Score (VSS)?

  • With 13 candidates and a duration of only two hours, we cannot have a meaningingful and informative discussion of the issues. Therefore, the maximum number of contenders should not exceed five.  

  • The transparent and objective way to determine which four challenging candidates will participate in the debates is to measure the support each candidate receives from the district as an indicator of capacity.

5. Is the Voter Support Score (VSS) your tool to determine a candidate’s viability?

  • No, the Voter Support Score (VSS) was developed for the sole purpose of holding insightful and in-depth debates between the candidates, allowing each participant to fully and clearly present their ideas and positions on a given topic and to distinguish themselves from the other candidates. This helps constituents make informed voting decisions, which is the ultimate goal of the debates.

6. Why are you using money to determine Voter Support?

  • There is not one single measure to determine voter support. We used monetary donations in our Voter Support Rubric as a standard to measure the act of donation (show of support) and less so the sum of donation. This is why the number of individual donations is weighted the most (45%), because it demonstrates the level of support for the candidates in a non-financial way.

  • Monetary donations offer verifiable and publically available data that applies equally to all candidates, which is essential to develop an objective and quantifiable measuring standard.  

  • Money in politics is still a necessary evil, however, the VSS shifts the power from big donors, to community support.


7. Why didn’t you include social media support in your rubric?

  • Measures of social media support cannot be verified.

  • Plus,we don’t want Russia to elect our District Representative. Putin already has his favorite Congressman.


8. Why didn’t you use straw polling?

  • Straw polls are historically inaccurate and vulnerable to tampering.

  • Professional polling is cost-prohibitive.


9. Why is the rubric weighted this way?

  • We believe the Voter Support Score (VSS) puts the focus on developing support within the district, and rewarding in-district base building, without unjustly punishing candidates for fundraising.


10. Why aren’t Loans, or Candidate Donations counted as “In-District Donations?”

  • The Loans and Candidate Donations do not measure Voter Support. Even if the candidate is in the district, the amount of money a candidate can loan or donate to themselves is unlimited, but it is still one vote. We assume the candidate will vote for themselves, so they do not need to be counted in this way.


11. What Party must a candidate be in order to be eligible to participate in the debate?

  • Indivisible OC 48 is non-partisan. So, all Congressional Candidates running in California’s 48th district are eligible to participate in the debates.


12. Will Congressman Rohrabacher be participating ?

  • We will extend a formal invitation for him to attend each of the debates. It will be his decision to attend or not.


13. What will happen to the candidates who are not eligible to participate on the debate stage?

  • All candidates will be invited to have a table at each debate event so voters will be able to interact with them before the start of the debate.


14. What happens if a candidate declines?

  • Then the candidate with the next highest Voter Support Score (VSS) will be offered a chance to participate in their place.


15. Are the debates open to the public?

  • Any constituent can attend any of the debates, but you must get a FREE ticket for each debate. Tickets will be available online.  

  • You do not have to belong to a certain party or group to be able to attend and ask questions. Indivisible OC-48 is a non-partisan group. Our events are open to all the constituents in the district.


16. Can I attend attend all four debates?

  • Yes. As long as you get a free ticket for each one.


17. Will I be able to ask a question to the candidates directly?

  • Each debate will be moderated by an expert on the topics. The moderator will be asking the questions for the most part. However, the moderator, at their discretion, may allow a handful of questions from the audience.

  • Additionally, the audience will be able to submit the questions in writing or via twitter during the debate. These questions will then be shared with the moderator and asked to the candidates, time allowing.


18.  What if I am unable to attend the debate series?

  • Each debate will be streamed live. Follow us on Twitter (@IndivisibleCA48) for more information on how to connect.  

  • If you have a question to the candidates, you will be able to submit it in writing before the debate through our website. It will be then shared with the moderator.

  • Attendees will receive a “Voter Survey” after each debate that will allow them to rate the performance of each of the participating candidates. A summary of the survey will be shared on our Facebook page and website following each debate. We will provide a summary of all surveys following the final debate. Anyone who is unable to attend can see the results of the survey.