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This isn’t going to work

Wednesday, Mar 9, 2022 - Posted by Rich Miller

* This is a really dumb idea on the part of the name-changing candidate

In an only-in-Illinois kind of way, Ashley Gott, treasurer of Williamson County in southern Illinois, faces a primary from… Ashley Gott.

Yes, that’s right. Treasurer Gott, a Republican man who was appointed to the office before winning it outright in 2020, is being challenged by someone with the same name.

But get this. Challenger Ashley Gott was known as Erin Perry until she changed her name on Jan. 6, according to the Williamson County Clerk’s office. What a move!

* This used to happen fairly regularly (particularly in Cook County judicial races when people would adopt Irish surnames), but then state law was changed way back in 2003

If a candidate has changed his or her name, whether by a statutory or common law procedure in Illinois or any other jurisdiction, within 3 years before the last day for filing the petition or certificate for that office, whichever is applicable, then (i) the candidate’s name on the petition or certificate must be followed by “formerly known as (list all prior names during the 3-year period) until name changed on (list date of each such name change)” and (ii) the petition or certificate must be accompanied by the candidate’s affidavit stating the candidate’s previous names during the period specified in (i) and the date or dates each of those names was changed; failure to meet these requirements shall be grounds for denying certification of the candidate’s name for the ballot or removing the candidate’s name from the ballot, as appropriate, but these requirements do not apply to name changes resulting from adoption to assume an adoptive parent’s or parents’ surname, marriage to assume a spouse’s surname, or dissolution of marriage or declaration of invalidity of marriage to assume a former surname.

I called the county clerk and Gott/Perry initially filed petitions without noting her name change. She withdrew those petitions and filed another set with the required information. But “formerly known as” will be clearly labeled on her ballot line.

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20 Comments
  1. - Six Degrees of Separation - Wednesday, Mar 9, 22 @ 11:02 am:

    None of the Above, formerly known as Six Degrees of Separation.


  2. - Lurker - Wednesday, Mar 9, 22 @ 11:08 am:

    That seemed like a lot of work for that job. Wouldn’t it be easier to visit the 30,000 potential voters?


  3. - Suburban Mom - Wednesday, Mar 9, 22 @ 11:09 am:

    which was the state that listed candidates alphabetically and accidentally started an arms race where someone changed their name to “Aadams” to be ahead of “Adams” on the ballot? And then someone topped them with “Aaadams”? (or similar, might not have been Adams.)


  4. - bkhartbnjo - Wednesday, Mar 9, 22 @ 11:11 am:

    This is why I only vote for treasurers named Elmo.


  5. - JoanP - Wednesday, Mar 9, 22 @ 11:20 am:

    In Illinois, you cannot change your name for fraudulent reasons, and I think this qualifies.

    Not that I think she gave this reason in her change-of-name petition.


  6. - thoughts matter - Wednesday, Mar 9, 22 @ 11:23 am:

    This would be strike 1,2, and 3 for me as a voter. She is not only not holding the moral high ground, she’s implying her fellow residents and potential voters are easily deceived by tricks.


  7. - Mike K - Wednesday, Mar 9, 22 @ 11:24 am:

    A second Carol Moseley Braun unsuccessfully tried this. https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-xpm-1999-04-22-9904220452-story.html

    Then-Rep. John Fritschey was chief advocate to require the name change to go on the ballot. I thought that was overkill. I was wrong.


  8. - rabble - Wednesday, Mar 9, 22 @ 11:28 am:

    It made me make that “huh?” look with my face when I read this.


  9. - New Englander - Wednesday, Mar 9, 22 @ 11:29 am:

    I remember when republican candidate Phil Spiwak ran for judge in Will County on 2010 and lost … then changed his name to Shannon O’Malley (I believe he claimed that was the name of his mentor) and ran again as a democrat in Cook County in 2020 … and won.

    Not sure when he changed his name, but I assume enough time had passed to where the former name didn’t have to be listed on the ballot as a “formerly known as.”


  10. - Mamacita - Wednesday, Mar 9, 22 @ 11:30 am:

    That’s peak Southern Illinois, unfortunately


  11. - Mike K - Wednesday, Mar 9, 22 @ 11:35 am:

    Thoughts Matter:’The motive here isn’t to win under the bogus name in this particular instance. It’s more likely to divide “Gott voters” into two, so the third candidate can win.


  12. - Hahaha - Wednesday, Mar 9, 22 @ 11:41 am:

    Mike K is right. The third candidate is an employee of Williamson County GOP Chairman Jeff Diederich who apparently has it out for his incumbent county treasurer. Bizarre and corrupt shenanigans.


  13. - Skeptic - Wednesday, Mar 9, 22 @ 11:51 am:

    While not advocating for a challenge, I’m curious how the law would hold up for people who changed their name for religious conversion or gender transition or for safety.


  14. - Drake Mallard - Wednesday, Mar 9, 22 @ 12:02 pm:

    Don’t give Jesse Sullivan any ideas.


  15. - Jake From Elwood - Wednesday, Mar 9, 22 @ 12:13 pm:

    Imagine wanting a county treasurer position so badly that you legally change both your first and last name. Weird.


  16. - New Day - Wednesday, Mar 9, 22 @ 1:12 pm:

    You gotta be realllllllllly desperate to be elected Treasurer of Williamson County if you’re willing to legally change your name. How bizarre.


  17. - Just Another Anon - Wednesday, Mar 9, 22 @ 1:58 pm:

    This has got (no pun intended) to be challenged. If the petitions were circulated in the name of “Ashley Gott” how did the electors know which one they were signing for? If the “a/k/a” didn’t appear on the sheets, then there is clear voter confusion regardless of whether they corrected it on the statement of candidacy.


  18. - Occasional Quipper - Wednesday, Mar 9, 22 @ 2:16 pm:

    == That’s peak Southern Illinois, unfortunately ==

    prejudge much?


  19. - Captain Obvious - Wednesday, Mar 9, 22 @ 2:40 pm:

    That’s peak Illinois. Fixed it for ya.


  20. - Illinois Fan - Wednesday, Mar 9, 22 @ 4:21 pm:

    Let’s not forget the saga of Chris Lauzen, C.P.A. when he ran for State Comptroller against Dan Hynes. The courts would not allow his shallow attempt to include his resume as part of his ballot name.


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