Q: What Features Are Included?
A: We’re constantly adding on new features. This is not an exhaustive list, but as of July 2020, we include:
- Scores shown in points or percentages
- Optional color coded scoring. You define scoring ranges for each color or choose one color for all scores.
- Color selection for headlines, name backgrounds, and hyperlinks
- Search for legislators by address or city
- Search for legislators by name
- Filtering by district, party, and chamber
- Current legislator contact info
- Voting record for each legislator with links to the most recent bills they’ve been active on
- A link to a legislator’s full, public BillTrack50 profile
- Customize your default sorting by score, district, or alphabetical
- Comments section for each bill. Recommended to explain your stance.
- Ability to turn columns off/on in the Votes table on legislator pages.
- 2 optional text widgets in the sidebar where you can enter in your own copy and links. Recommended for promo content.
- 1 optional widget in the sidebar where you can pull in blog posts by category (for WordPress sites only)
- 1 optional widget used across all of the legislator detail pages where enter in your own copy and links. Recommended for promo content.
- Background image customization
- Sponsor column on each legislator pages to show what bills a legislator sponsored
Q: What Additional Features Are Planned?
2020 planned development iteration includes:
- Federal scorecard usability improvements
- Mobile improvements to legislator page tables
- Letter grade scores (A-F)
Q: Do You Have Examples of People Using This Plugin?
A: Definitely. View our case studies for live examples of the plugin and to read how our scorecard has directly gained the attention of legislators.
Q: What Scoring Options Are Included
A: BillTrack50 has the capability to generate Vote Index or Total Scores. For either option, you can set color-coded ranges.
Vote Index scores are percentage based, so they will display as 0-100 in the scorecard.
Total Scores are the total number of points and can display as positive or negative scores in the scorecard.
Q: How many years of scorecards can I have?
A: One year comes with the default plugin. When purchasing, you can choose to upgrade to a multi-year subscription. Once upgraded, multiple years will display as tabs at the top of each individual legislator’s page only.
Q: Can you do lifetime scoring?
A: Yes, when purchasing, you can choose to upgrade to a multi-year subscription that includes lifetime scoring. Once upgraded, lifetime scoring will display on each individual legislator’s page. We have not built this feature to display on landing page yet.
Q: Can you display both state and federal scorecards?
A: Yes. We pull in whatever data you have added to your BillTrack50 scorecard. Contact us for federal scorecard pricing.
Q: Can I use this without a BillTrack50 account?
A: No. you must have a BillTrack50 account to use this plugin. It requires a BillTrack50 API key, which you can request directly from BillTrack50.
Q: Is this plugin only for WordPress websites?
A: Currently, yes. However, we can create a hosted WordPress microsite that houses the scorecard, if you’d like to use it. Also, we are actively working on integrating this into other platforms as well. If you would like to request a platform, please contact us.
Q: What is the Membership Option
A: Turning on memberships in the plugin requires that your visitors be logged in with a WordPress account to view more than 3 legislators. This is optional and can be easily turned on/off in the plugin settings.
Q: How are you affiliated with BillTrack50?
A: While we get regular feedback and input from BillTrack50, we are separate entities. Please contact us for issues, support, or feature requests for this plugin.
Q: Do you offer discounts for non-profits?
A: The vast majority of our customers are non-profits, so our pricing is set accordingly. However, we do offer a free fundraising toolkit that non-profits may use.
Q: Who do we contact for support or feature requests?
Installation & Setup
Q: How to Set Up a Scorecard on BillTrack50
It’s easy to choose bills by keyword and set up a scorecard. Watch how.
Q: WordPress Theme Requirements
A: Your theme must have a full-width template of 960px wide or wider to display this scorecard. If you don’t have one included, you could look at creating a child theme to add one.
We do not recommend using a page template that includes a sidebar, because our plugin comes with a built-in sidebar.
Q: System Requirements
Q: How do I install this plugin?
A: See our installation instructions.
Q: The scorecard keeps showing a loading symbol and the scorecard fields in the WordPress admin ARE greyed out.
A: Back up your site. Then set the WordPress permalink structure to ‘post-name’. Here’s an example.
Q: The scorecard keeps showing a loading symbol and the scorecard fields in the WordPress admin are NOT greyed out.
A: Go to BillTrack50.com and log into your account. If you’re not able to log in and view your bills, then BillTrack50 is likely down. Please let your contact at BillTrack50 know. Otherwise, if you are able to log into BillTrack50 and view bills, contact our team instead.
Q: It’s the start of the new session and my legislators aren’t displaying.
A: Legislator votes determine which legislators your scorecard grades and includes. If you’ve changed your scorecard to a new session, no legislators will show because they haven’t made any votes yet. To solve this, contact BillTrack50 and have them add a dummy bill in your BillTrack50 scorecard with a vote for each legislator. Once you get House and Senate votes, you can remove this dummy bill.
Q: It’s the start of the new session and I only have votes for House members.
A: It likely means the bill has been voted on in the House, but not the Senate yet. You can view that bill’s current status in the detail section of the individual BillTrack50 bill.
Q: Some legislator headshots are missing.
A: For new legislators, their headshots will pull in once they have cast a vote that has been pulled into your scorecard. If they do not display, contact us.
Q: All legislator headshots are missing.
A: Contact us.
Q: Some legislators are still missing after the above issues are resolved.
A: Please contact us. Include your website url, a WordPress administrator login, and the names of the missing legislators.
Q: A legislator is no longer in office, but I still want to show them in my scorecard.
A: Log into BillTrack50 and go to your scorecard. Edit your scorecard’s settings via the ‘Manage’ tab to include out of office legislators in the scorecard.
Organizations who use our scorecard report that legislators regularly check it and communication with them on core issues. Our scorecards have been featured in the news, podcasts, and Ballotpedia. Please contact us to learn more about how we are helping organizations get the attention of legislators.