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Scoring & Bills

What total scoring options are included?

Vote Index, Total Scores, or Letter Grading. For any of these options, you can also set color-coded scoring ranges.

Vote Index scores display as 0-100 in the scorecard. Scores less than 0 display as 0. Scores greater than 100 display as 100.

Vote Index with Bonus Scores display as 0-100+ in the scorecard. Scores less than 0 display as 0. Scores greater than 100 display as 100, 101, 102, etc.

Total Scores are the total number of points and can display as positive or negative scores in the scorecard.

Letter Grading is based on the Vote Index scores. We then calculate those into letter grades for you. You can choose any scoring range for any letter grade.

What types of scoring formulas do you support?

Most organizations award a specific number of points per legislative action. Example:

  • Voting in line +2 Points
  • Voting out of line -2 Points
  • Absent for Voting +0 Points
  • Absent votes can also be removed from the total score so as not to hurt the legislator’s overall score.
  • Sponsoring or co-sponsoring in line bills +5 points

We may or may not be able to support “bonus points”, unless they are based on specific legislative actions which BillTrack50 has data for. Contact us for questions regarding your formula and we can help find out what’s possible.

I've never had a scorecard before. What scoring should I use on my scorecard?

We recommend keeping it as straightforward as possible to make it easy to understand for the general public. If you haven't published a scorecard before, something like the following is very effective and intuitive for most users:

  • +1 point for good bills
  • 0 points for bills you're neutral on or are monitoring
  • -1 point for bad bills

Can you do Lifetime Scoring?

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. See below for how this is laid out or view the National Parks Action Fund’s 2020 Congressional Scorecard or the ACLU-PA’s scorecard for live examples.

Scorecard with Lifetime mScoring

Can I weight votes for a bill?

Yes. That’s done in your BillTrack50 account. Watch this video (starting at 5:43mins) to learn how.

Can I score Sponsorship of a bill?

Yes! That’s also done in your BillTrack50 account. Watch this video (starting at 5:43mins) to learn how Bill Rating is separate from Sponsor Rating.

Can I weight Sponsorship of a bill?

Yes! That’s also done in your BillTrack50 account. You would just set the Sponsor Rating higher or lower than your other bill’s Sponsor Ratings. Watch this video (starting at 5:43mins) for an example.

Can I use Sponsorships as Bonus Points?

Yes. However, you have to be mindful of how bonus points will affect the outcome of the score. Using bonus points, it is possible that a legislator who takes negative actions would still get a score of 100. For example, if you're using Sponsorship as a bonus point:

Votes Taken

Legislator voted in your favor 8 out of 10 times.

Sponsorships as Bonus Points

Legislator also sponsored 2 good bills

Final Score

Legislator's score would be 100%

Can I rate Motions and Amendments on bills?

Yes. By default, BillTrack50 applies your bill score to the last action on a bill. However, you can rate the motions or amendments individually instead.

In this screenshot you can see that BillTrack50 gives you a list of all of the motions and amendments on a bill. Just change the dropdown to "Include" the actions you want and "Exclude" those you don't.

Watch this video to learn how to set this up properly.

How to rate motions and amendments on bills

Can I factor in scores for only Prime Sponsors of a bill?

Yes. It’s a custom scoring option, so please allot a few extra days in your timeline for our team to add it.

Can I score votes and add Comments on specific Amendments?

Feature is in development: We are working on adding this feature to our scorecard in 2022. To prepare for this new feature launch, you can set up the data in BillTrack50 now.

Watch this video to learn how to set this up properly.

Can I edit the Bill Names in my scorecard?

Yes! You can do that within BillTrack50 and it will sync into our scorecard software within a max of 30 mins. Watch this video (starting at 5:13) to learn how.

Can I write my own Comment for each bill?

Yes! You will write Comments in your BillTrack50 account under the Bill in your Scorecard. Watch this video (starting at 6:29mins) to see how.

To add a link within your Bill Comment, like in the ACLU Pennsylvania scorecard, log into BillTrack50. Under Scorecard > Legislator (tab) > Edit bill > Reference URL add a link to the page about that bill. In the URL Text field, you’d add what you want the link text to show up as on the scorecard.

Can I add Categories to a bill?

Yes. In BillTrack50, open your scorecard > Click the Manage tab > Look for Scoring Settings > Type in the Bill Categories you’d like to have available to use throughout the scorecard.

Then under Scorecard > Legislator (tab) > Edit bill > look for Categories. Add your Categories.

Can I add my Organization’s Position on a bill?

Yes, we’ve automated it. Bills scored favorably have a Support position. Bills scored negatively have a Oppose position. Bills scored as 0 display a Neutral position.

Contact us to setup a Congressional or State Legislative Scorecard for your organization.

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