KITCHENER -- Members of the Kitchener-Waterloo chapter of Democrats Abroad had a virtual viewing party to take in the presidential debate on Tuesday night.

U.S. President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden had their first debate ahead of November's election.

The local chapter also includes members from Cambridge, Guelph and a number of surrounding towns. Usually the group would have gotten together for an in-person meeting, but moved online due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Members wanted to hear about issues like handling the pandemic and racial unrest in the United States. They said they heavily favoured Biden, but added the debates are unlikely to have much impact for voters heading into the election.

"I think most people have made up their minds," member Peter Tesche said. "Either you're for Trump or you're against Trump. I don't know that there's a big portion of undecided voters left."

"I think it's even more than a presidential election," chapter chair Tim Flannery said. "I think it's an election that represents ideologies that are clearly divided. It clearly also is going to set the direction of where society is headed from this point forward in many ways."

The group reported a boost in involvement from Americans living abroad this year due to the divisive environment in the United States. In the last election, 5.5 per cent of their members voted. This year, 49 per cent of their membership has registered to vote.