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CUT’s Bill Track 50 Scorecard

CUT utilizes Bill Track 50 to track legislation.  Our Legislator Scorecard on Bill Track 50 includes both a total score column and a vote index column. You can click on any column to sort by that column. You can use the filter to look at one chamber, one party, or even one specific legislator. You can also click on a legislator to see a summary of their individual scores and the votes that went into them. But what is the difference between the three different scores? Basically, the total score represents impact, the vote index score represents purity (closeness to the CUT recommended votes), and the possible score is, well, the possible high score.


Total Score

For the total score, we take each vote, multiply by the rating you gave the bill, and add up all the results. This resulting score lets you know how much impact a legislator had on your agenda — a combination of how many chances they had to vote and how often they voted correctly.

For bill ratings, bills CUT supports are given a “+1” and bills CUT opposes are given a “-1” number. Bills CUT is following but does not want to be factored into the scoring, are given a 0.  If a lawmaker votes for a bill CUT supports or against a bill CUT opposes, their total score goes up. If they vote for a bill CUT opposes or against a bill CUT supports, the total score goes down.

Of course, there may be several votes held on any given bill, in one or both chambers. By default, we consider the most recent vote in each chamber.

If a Legislator is absent for a vote, he/she is given credit as if they voted the way the majority voted.

Possible Score

The maximum points that a legislator could have gotten, if they voted the “CUT Recommended” way on every bill, is listed in the “Possible Vote Score” column. This value is fairly straightforward.  We add up the votes they could have made, just like we would for the total score, but count them as if they had voted correctly. If they were absent or abstained from a specific vote, we still count that vote into their possible score. On the other hand, if they are in the house and the bill was only voted on in the senate, then we don’t consider that as a possible vote, and it doesn’t count in their possible score. Thus members of the house and senate almost always have different possible scores. Also, in Colorado, where committee votes re aavailable, lawmakers on lots of committees (or committees that hear a lot of CUT’s specific bills) will likely have a higher possible score.


Vote Index

For vote index, the formula is:

Vote Index = (Total Vote Score + Possible Score) / (2*Possible Score)

The formula is basically calculating the percentage of the time the legislator voted correctly, weighted for by your rating. If they vote right every single time the formula gives back 1. If their good votes and bad votes exactly cancel each other out and their total score is 0, and the formula gives .5. And if they vote wrong every time their total score is -possible score, so the formula gives back 0.


If you sort lawmakers by their total score, one chamber is likely to be at a disadvantage, but they are on a level playing field when considering the vote index. Also, the difference in the ranking (within a chamber) between the Total Score and the Possible Score matters much where we have committee votes. A person on the right committee can have a big impact, while still being right a smaller percentage of the time.

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