COLUMBUS -- A measure to set new election rules for minor political parties passed the state Senate on Tuesday despite concerns from members of the Libertarian and Green parties that the changes would obstruct their access to the ballot.
The proposal cleared the Republican-controlled Senate on a 22-11 vote, with one GOP senator joining Democrats in opposition.
To remain a qualified political party, groups must get 3 percent of the total votes cast in the following gubernatorial or presidential election.
No third-party candidate in the most recent elections has reached those numbers.
Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson garnered 0.9 percent, or 49,493 votes, in the 2012 presidential election. In the 2010 gubernatorial race, Libertarian candidate Ken Matesz got 2.4 percent of the vote, while Green Party candidate Dennis Spisak won 1.5 percent.
Charlie Earl, a Libertarian candidate for governor, opposes the bill and predicted it would unite disenfranchised voters.
"What I believe they've done is taken four or five pockets of resistance and combined us into one bag of fury," he told reporters. "And we're coming after them. We're not going to stop."