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"Heroes and Zeros": Because You Can't Tell the Lawmakers Without a Scorecard

The voting records of every West Virginia state legislator - the "Heroes and Zeros" - is now available in one scorecard. (WV State Legislature)
The voting records of every West Virginia state legislator - the "Heroes and Zeros" - is now available in one scorecard. (WV State Legislature)
October 24, 2016

CHARLESTON, W.V. -- Just in time for the election: a free scorecard that runs down the voting record of every state senator and House delegate is available for voters in West Virginia.

The Heroes and Zeros 2015/2016 scorecard was created by the West Virginia Citizen Action Group and is freely available on their website, wvcag.org. Gary Zuckett, executive director at CAG, said the guide looks at every important vote on a wide variety of progressive issues - from prevailing wage and water quality to voter ID and the so-called religious freedom restoration act - and assigns representatives a score based on their voting record.

"People can really get a feel for what their individual legislator did,” Zuckett said. "Vote by vote, bill by bill, issue by issue, they can find out how they were represented during the past two years."

Groups across the spectrum endorse candidates: unions, industries and organizations focused on individual issues such as guns or abortion. But Heroes and Zeros is one of the most comprehensive scorecards available - and it's certainly one of the most progressive.

Zuckett said that based on the information collected for the guide, the Legislature seems to be moving in a very conservative direction.

"I'm afraid they would have to get a failing grade,” he said of representatives’ support of progressive issues. "In the House, just under half are at 20 percent or less. They only got one out of five right. And the Senate is actually worse."

Three lawmakers - all in the House of Delegates - scored 100 percent. Three - including Senate President and GOP Gubernatorial nominee Bill Cole - scored zero. Zuckett said the hope behind the scorecard is that it will help empower citizens - and maybe break through some of the barriers that keep people from feeling like they can be constructively involved.

"People have jobs and families and we understand they can't go up to the Legislature on a daily basis when they're grinding that sausage, to keep the scrutiny on them,” Zuckett said. "So that's why we put this scorecard together."

Dan Heyman, Public News Service - WV