State Sen. Bill Ferguson (D-Baltimore City) tried to take two small steps to welcome third-party voters to Maryland's political process, but his efforts failed. One bill, the House version of which was sponsored state Del. Jolene Ivey (D-Prince George's County), sought to assure that people who aren't Democrats or Republicans may serve on state boards and commissions. The other would have made it easier for third parties to retain status as officially recognized by the Maryland Board of Elections so that their candidates can be listed on the state's ballots. It would have lowered the current threshold - at least 1 percent of the state electorate, or about 37,000 voters, must be registered as a member of the party-to 10,000 voters.