2019 — New Haven, CT/US
Preliminary Competition Format
This year’s Congressional Debate division features fifteen (15) chambers.
There are three (3) sessions of debate in the Preliminary Competition.
Each session consists of at maximum three (3) hours of floor debate.
Each session shall be no shorter than ten (10) minutes x the number of contestants present in the chamber. For example, a chamber of sixteen competitors must have a minimum of 2 hours and 40 minutes of floor debate.
Each chamber shall be allowed only a total of fifteen (15) minutes of break. This include in-house and out-of-house recesses. Parliamentarians will be encouraged to deduct rankings from students who try to circumvent these time restrictions through the creative manipulation of Robert’s Rules of Order.
There is one (1) elected Presiding Officer in each session. For purposes of this competition, one complete session is a legislative day. Priority for speaking resets at the end of each legislative day. Thus, all legislators will have zero speeches at the start of each session. The presiding officer may not yield the chair.
Each chamber has been assigned nine (9) pieces of legislation for debate. Students may create an agenda that determines which three (3) docket items will be debated in each session. Any motions to suspend the rules to change or eliminate this process not only will ruled dilatory, but judges will be encouraged to deduct rankings from students who try to circumvent these time restrictions through the creative manipulation of Robert’s Rules of Order
A Parliamentarian and a Scorer will evaluate each chamber. The Parliamentarian remains in the chamber throughout the preliminary competition, while the Scorers rotate to different chambers throughout the tournament. The Scorers evaluate every speech that is given in a session, rating them on a scale of 1 to 6 (1 is low; 6 is high). The points awarded by a Scorer for a given speech can thus be used to determine NFL points for that speech. The Parliamentarian keeps notes on the overall performance of each legislator and will write formal ballots, including an evaluation for each Presiding Officer, awarding him/her up to 18 NFL points based on his/her performance during a given session.
At the end of the session, the Scorer will each independently nominate six (6) students for Best Legislator during the session. At the end of all sessions, the Parliamentarian will each independently nominate eight (8) students for Best Legislator based on overall performance. Each nomination form will be converted into credits. The Parliamentarian’s ranks will count twice. The four (4) students from each chamber who have earned the highest number of judge credits will advance to the Semifinal Round. Additionally, the Parliamentarian’s ballot will break any ties.