Evidence is an important part of the average Team Policy and Lincoln-Douglas debate round. Evidence is presented, contested, requested, and reviewed. To ensure honest, transparent debate, evidence can be shared between both teams and the judge when requested. The Stoa rules say: “Evidence must be made available if requested by the other team or the judge, as the team presenting the evidence has the burden of validating that evidence if challenged.” Let’s talk about proper etiquette and procedure for this rule.
Typically, evidence is requested during cross-examination. This is the ideal place to ask for and receive evidence. However, evidence may also be requested during prep time, when necessary. For example, there is no cross-examination of rebuttal speeches. If the Negative would like to review a key quotation that was presented in the 1AR, they may request the evidence during their prep time. Please note that proper etiquette is to request evidence only when it’s your prep time running. Do not ask for evidence unless it’s your prep time that will be charged for the exchange. Remember that while you may ask for evidence during prep time, this is NOT the place for asking any further questions. That must take place during the regular speech time.
Judges may request to review evidence, but all requests must wait until the end of the round. While debaters may refer to the judge’s right to review evidence during their speeches, they may NOT remind the judge of this policy or offer evidence to the judge after the 2AR has concluded. Any exchange of evidence must be done at the sole initiation of the judge.
If the judge does request evidence, a debater may bring that evidence to the judge and point out where the evidence is on the card/paper, but the debater may NOT reiterate their argument or explain any other details. Furthermore, they may NOT suggest the judge look at any other evidence than what was directly requested.
Sometimes the judge may not be familiar with this rule or etiquette. If an enthusiastic or curious judge continues to ask you for clarification after the round is over, please be polite but firm in explaining that you may not continue debating. “I’m so sorry, but the rules forbid me from explaining or commenting on these arguments now that my speech time is over.” If they continue to press, suggest that you would be happy to talk about the topic further after they have turned in their ballot!
At The Tournament...
If there are questions about what is or is not allowed at a tournament, please contact the debate committee or directly consult the rules, instead of relying on your memory or what someone else told you. This can ensure that needless conflict is avoided, and debate rounds are smooth, easy, and fun!
Your Stoa Debate Committee