State legislative scorecards

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State legislative scorecards

Legislative scorecards by state
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Often used in sports and business, scorecards note the improvement or lack thereof of a player, team or institution.

Similarly in politics, scorecards provide information on the status or progress of politicians and/or policy issues. They are aggregated on Ballotpedia profiles to help provide context for readers on an official’s term in office, a policy or an incumbent’s voting record.

Some scorecards are created with a focus on specific issues, while others are broad in scope.

On Ballotpedia, we define scorecards as those produced by newspapers, interest groups, think tanks, partisan groups, 501(c)(3)s and 501c4s that provide relative rankings and cover all state or federal lawmakers.

Because scorecards can be specific to particular issues or general to a state’s legislative term, for example, each report should be considered on its own merits. Each entity that publishes these reports uses different methodologies and definitions for the terms used.

Ballotpedia is in the process of developing an encyclopedic list of published scorecards. Some states have a limited number of available scorecards or scorecards produced only by select groups. It is Ballotpedia’s goal to incorporate all available scorecards regardless of ideology or number.

We are also in the process of adding more in-depth descriptions about the reports and the scoring processes. However, for those that do not yet feature such descriptions, we offer a tutorial so you can help us expand these areas. See our writing guidelines below to contribute.

If you are aware of a scorecard Ballotpedia has not included please email it to

What qualifies as a scorecard?

For encyclopedic purposes, Ballotpedia makes an effort to include all state scorecards (as defined below).

Ballotpedia defines scorecards as those produced by newspapers, interest groups, think tanks, partisan groups, 501(c)(3)s and 501c4s that provide relative rankings and covers all state or federal lawmakers.

Scorecards may also be referred to as voter guides or indexes.

  • Scorecards: records used to measure achievement or progress. The measurement and subjects in the record vary in each publication.
  • Voter guides: the term "voter guides" generally refers to pamphlets published and distributed by state governments just prior to an election. However, non-government groups, such as nonprofits, newspapers and interest groups, also publish guides for voters’ use. The guides may be written in an unbiased nature and present only what will appear on the ballot or they may display whether the group supports, opposes or is neutral on an issue or candidate. The latter version is similar to and can be considered a scorecard.
  • Indexes: can refer to an alphabetical list of names, topics or items. However, it is also defined as a measure or an indicator. The term “indexes” is also used in reference to what Ballotpedia classifies as “scorecards.”

Where Ballotpedia finds scorecards

Ballotpedia makes every effort to collect scorecards as many scorecards as possible for each state, but is limited to those scorecards that are readily available and accessible. Research to find scorecards is conducted primarily through search engine queries, but also includes limited reference to Project Vote Smart. If you are aware of a scorecard Ballotpedia has not included please email it to


Editor's note: If you are interested in contributing to this project please email us at so the instructions below can be fully explained. The goal of this project is to provide a comprehensive list of legislative scorecards for each state and to ensure that descriptions are unbiased and accurate.

To add a scorecard link

  • Go to State legislative scorecards in Texas.
  • Replace Texas with the appropriate state name.
  • Identify when the scorecard you plan to add was published and select [edit] for the appropriate year.
  • Add a bullet point (using an asterisk) and the link to the scorecard. Cite the name of the organization and the name of the scorecard report.
  • Add a sub-bullet point (use a colon and asterisk) to include a brief description of the organization and scorecard.


  • Legislators are scored on bills which relate to economic freedom, the size and scope of government, and individual liberty.

Select “preview” to review your edit. If everything looks correct, select “save.”

To expand a scorecard section

Visit a specific incumbent profile. Example - George Lavender.

Create a subsection within the “Scorecards” section. For example: ===NAME==== Replace NAME with the name of the group’s scorecard.

Below the subsection title write a description about the organization and include details about the produced scorecard. You should include:

  • the tax status of a group (501(c)(3), for example)
  • if available, how frequently the report is published (annually? each legislative session?)
  • what the scorecard is grading
  • the scale used (for example, letter grades, percentages, a 0-100 scale)
  • the issues being evaluated and how the group is measuring each incumbent (reviewing state budgets plus votes on budget-related bills proposed in the YEAR-YEAR session, for example)

Add a subsection for the year.

For example: ====YEAR==== Replace YEAR with the year the report was published.

  • list the score given to the incumbent
  • note how the incumbent fared in comparison to others (49th out of 150 legislators or in the top 25%)


Empower Texans Fiscal Responsibility Index

Empower Texans produces the Fiscal Responsibility Index as "a measurement of how lawmakers perform on size and role of government issues." The index uses "exemplar votes on core budget and free enterprise issues that demonstrate legislators' governing philosophy."[1] Legislators are graded along a standard grading scale, receiving grades A through F based on their performance during the legislative session.


George Lavender received a grade of B on the 2011 Fiscal Responsibility Index. He was one of eight representatives to receive the B grade. A total of 45 representatives received a grade of B+ or better.

Lastly, select “preview” to review your edit. If everything looks correct, select “save.”


If you have any questions or comments please email us at