Installation


First, try an Automatic install. If that doesn’t work, you can try manually installing.

Step 1: Automatic Plugin Installation (Best Option)

To add a WordPress Plugin using the built-in plugin installer:

    1. Go to Plugins > Add New.
    2. Click the Upload button
    3. The resulting installation screen will list the installation as successful or note any problems during the install.
    4. If successful, click Activate Plugin to activate it.
    5. Now follow the steps in Step 2: Customize the Plugin

Step 1 Alternative: Manual Plugin Installation

Use this option if your server does not permit automatic installation of a WordPress Plugin and you are familiar with FTP usage.

Backup your site completely before proceeding.

To install a WordPress Plugin manually:

  1. Download this WordPress Plugin to your desktop.
  2. Extract the zip archive Plugin folder to your desktop.
  3. Read through the “readme” file thoroughly to ensure you follow the installation instructions.
  4. With your FTP program, upload the Plugin folder to the wp-content/plugins folder in your WordPress directory online.
  5. Go to Plugins screen and find the newly uploaded Plugin in the list.
  6. Click Activate to activate it.
  7. Now follow the steps in Step 2: Customize the Plugin

Step 2: Customize the Plugin

  1. In WordPress, go to Settings > BillTrack50 Scorecard
  2. Customize the following fields:
    1. BT50 API Key: Paste in your Bill Track 50 API key and then click the Save button at the bottom of the page.
      1. If you do not have an API key, please contact Bill Track 50.
    2. Select a BillTrack50 Scorecard: This will default to the first scorecard in your BillTrack50 account. Use the dropdown change which scorecard is displayed.
    3. Main Header Image: Upload an image that displays behind both the search for legislator by address field and behind individual legislators on their detail pages. Recommended size is 1440x670px.
      1. If you prefer a different image to be used on the legislator pages, contact us and we will send you custom code to put in your theme.
    4. Scorecard Title: This is h1 title on the landing page.
    5. Members Only Option: If someone isn’t a member with a WordPress login, they can only see the first 3 legislators in the list. Once logged into WordPress, they can see everything. This is optional and most people leave this turned off.
    6. Scoring Method: Should be set to normal unless we’ve let you know otherwise.
    7. Text Customization: This enables Translations, which allow you to replace certain default text with something else. Text examples you can replace are:
      1. Senate
      2. House
      3. Senator
      4. House Representative
      5. Comments
    8. Range Splits: Scores default to a red background if the score is below zero and green if it’s above zero. To change, this or add new colors, enter in a number and choose what Range Color you want for that range. (The range is considered in-between the high and low number you’re working with.)
    9. Scorecard Title and Subtitle Color: The color of the title and paragraph text on the landing page.
    10. Primary color: This color will be used as the background of legislator names.
    11. Secondary color: The color of hyperlinks.
    12. Legislator Name Color (Legislator Page): The text color of the legislator names on their dedicated pages.
    13. Legislator favorable vote text color: The color of the good votes in the Votes column on legislator pages.
      1. Example 1: If a legislator votes against a bad bill, that’s a good vote.
      2. Example 2: If a legislator votes for a good bill, that’s a good vote.
    14. Legislator negative vote text color: The color of the bad votes in the Votes column on legislator pages.
    15. Legislator neutral vote text color: The color of the neutral votes in the Votes column on legislator pages.
    16. Force HTTPS for image URLs: If you want image links to be https instead of http. Select this is your site uses SSL (https) or if you’re unable to get headshots to load. (Usually checked is the correct choice.)
    17. Enable Partial Loading of Legislators: Improves page speed by only loading some of them on initial page load.
    18. Main Subtitle Jumbotron: This is the paragraph text that displays under your page title.
    19. Scoring Info Sidebar: Displays in the sidebar. Is used to explain your values and scoring system.
    20. Display Recent Posts in Sidebar: You must have a WordPress blog to use this feature. This pulls in your recent WordPress blog posts into the sidebar. Check it to turn it on. Then you can multi-select to choose which categories you want to display. (On Windows, multi-select is done with Control + click. On Macs, it’s done with Command + click.)
    21. Default Legislator Sorting: Sets the order legislators are sorted in when a user first lands on the scorecard.
    22. Vote Tables to Display: Deprecated. This feature is going away and isn’t used on any scorecards built after 2019.
    23. Vote table columns to display: Allows you to show/hide any columns in the table on legislator pages.
    24. Display the promo sidebar section: When checked, this enables a heading and text editor widget in the sidebar on the landing page.
    25. Display recent bills section in sidebar with links to BillTrack50 pages?: When checked, this pulls in bills from your most recents scorecard with recent activity.
    26. Display a legislators sponsored bills if no vote has occurred?: We typically only display bills in your scorecard if a vote has occurred on them. However, when checked, we pull in bills a legislator has sponsored even if no votes have been made on them yet.
    27. Number of bills to display in sidebar section?: This is the number of bills that displays in the Recent Activity section of the landing page and the number of bills that display on legislator pages.
    28. Score to display Vote Index or Total Score: Vote Index translates your scores into (0-100) scores and is required for Letter Grades. Total Score translates your scores into the total positive or negative score.
    29. Promotional Text on a legislator’s page (optional): Deprecated. This feature is going away and isn’t used on any scorecards built after 2019.
    30. Scorecard Main Banner Background Color: The background color of box around the text in the landing page jumbotron.
    31. Scorecard Find My Representative Background Color: The background color of the divider at the bottom of the jumbotron. It contains the Find My Representative search box / button.
    32. Individual Legislator Scorecard Background Color: Deprecated. This feature is going away.
    33. Font Family: Type in the name of the font family as you would in a CSS file.
  3. Click Save again
  4. Paste the following shortcode into any page with a full-width template of 960px or wider and save that page. We do not recommend using a page template that includes a sidebar, because our plugin comes with a built-in sidebar.
    [bt50-scorecard]

Common Scorecard Questions

We provide solutions to the following questions in the Installation and Setup section of our Support page.

Q: The scorecard keeps showing a loading symbol and the fields in the WordPress admin are greyed out.

Q: It’s the start of the new session and my legislators aren’t displaying. 

Q: It’s the start of the new session and I only have votes for House members.

Q: Some legislator headshots are missing.

Q: All legislator headshots are missing.

Q: A legislator is no longer in office, but I still want to show them in my scorecard.

If you run into other issues or questions, please contact us at support@legislativescorecard.us or (720) 515-8498.

Common Plugin Issues

If you are having problems with a WordPress Plugin, see the WordPress.org Troubleshooting section.

Error: Unable to move plugin files

If WordPress gives an error related to being unable to move plugin files, you very likely have server permissions issues. See Changing File Permissions and Hardening WordPress for the official WordPress documentation on how permissions should be set.

Error: White Screen of Death

See Common WordPress Issues

If you experience a white screen of death after installing our plugin, please deactivate it, turn on WP_Debug in your wp-config.php file, and refresh your page. Then, contact us or email us at support@legislativescorecard.us with the error you receive.

In that case, until we are able to get back to you, we’d recommend deactivating our plugin. If you are unable to access the WordPress administration screen, you can deactivate the plugin manually.