A legislative scorecard is a device that groups and newspapers use in order to compare and contrast the philosophical and political beliefs of the members of one or more state legislatures.
When preparing a legislative scorecard, typically a newspaper or organization reviews all the votes cast by the members of a state legislature in a recent legislative term. The group that plans to produce a legislative scorecard by choosing which votes, on which bills, in their view most clearly demonstrates a legislator's political inclinations. A legislative scorecard ordinarily chooses between 8-15 votes that in their view tend to clearly establish the political predilections of the legislators in a state. They then determine how each legislator voted on those particular bills. With this information, a legislative scorecard is established that shows, for each of those bills, how each legislator voted on it.
Groups that prepare legislative scorecards typically also assign a percentage value to each legislator. For example, if a liberal group believes that there were 10 key votes in a state legislature and a "yes" vote on all of them means that a particular legislator is completely in line with the views of that organization, and a particular legislator voted "yes" on 8 of the bills, that legislator would be assigned an "80%."