CRC FREQUENTLY-ASKED QUESTIONS
|Helping Voters get beyond the sound bites since 1995
Congressional Report Cards is a project of
How accurately do your numeric scores reflect whether a member supported or
opposed the position on legislation of an advocacy group?
Numerical scores may not be very useful, especially if they are based on a
small number of votes. That is why we do not even display numerical scores that
would be based on fewer than 5 votes (and cosponsorships). However, even if a
score is not available, you can still use the "drill-down" feature of our
Report Cards to compare a member's position and a group's position on votes
considered important by the group. Just click any bar graph in a Report Card
Why are so many legislation descriptions missing?
We started reprinting the advocacy groups' legislation descriptions in 1999.
Due to our limited resources, we will not be adding the pre-1999 descriptions
Where do you get the data used in your Report Cards?
We obtain the groups' position on legislation and their legislation
descriptions from the groups' Web sites or from "paper" publications published
by the groups (usually their congressional scorecards).
The congressional votes and legislation cosponsorship data comes from the
on-line version of Congressional Record.
What are the main differences between VIS Scores and the ratings published
by the groups?
Although VIS Scores are based on the position on legislation published by the
groups, our scores may be different from the ones published by the groups
themselves for several reasons:
The way "missed" votes are counted. If a member does not vote (or otherwise
make his/her position known) during a vote, we count that as a "wrong" vote.
Some groups disregard these votes when calculating their rating.
Some groups combine votes taken over two or more years into one rating. Each
VIS Score includes only votes taken during a single year.
How do I interpret VIS Scores? What does 60/10 mean?
60/10 means that a member supported the position of a group during 60% (=6) of
10 legislative actions. Legislative action usually means a vote in Congress,
but can also mean cosponsorship (or lack thereof) of legislation that was never
More information about VIS scores.
Why do you list 34 congressional districts in New York state, even though
there are now only 31 of them?
This is a result of the 1992 redistricting during which NY and other states,
especially in the Northeast, lost congressional districts because their
population had become smaller relative to other states such as Texas and
California. Notice that there are no scores past 1992 in the reports for NY
districts 32 through 34. Redistricting happens every ten years.
Your information seems to be somewhat dated.
When do you put out updates?
Why isn't my representative's position on Vote X taken last week
We are not a news site. The purpose of our Report Cards is to help
you understand the members' position on important issues over the longer term
(up to 6 years). The Report Cards are updated 2-3 times a year.
In our Report Cards, we use the information published by the advocacy groups
(specifically, their position on legislation or votes). This information is
published by the groups typically after the congressional session ends. Some
groups may take 6-9 months and some do it once every two years.
For information on recent congressional votes and legislation, visit one of
these sites not affiliated with VIS: