The notion that poll numbers should determine gubernatorial debate participation is contrary to the best interest of Connecticut voters and the use of that metric should be abandoned immediately.

Political debates represent the best opportunity for candidates to meet on a level playing field. Expensive media buys, particularly television ads, offer no chance for side-by-side  comparison. Valid rebuttal only results when all candidates  can respond publicly in a singular forum.

In our current system, candidates are included on the ballot through party primaries or petitioning by collecting signatures. To assume that only candidates that poll over 10 percent should be on the debate stage is a disservice to voters and not relevant today.

Registered, unaffiliated voters far outnumber party registrants in our state  so their interests must be represented regardless of the polls. If you are on the ballot, you should be on the stage. The two party system is broken. Now is the time to take the steps necessary to fix it before it is too late.

Edward Johnson lives in Wethersfield.

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