Columns | Northwest Herald

Eye On Illinois: Final primary totals arrive just before general election process begins

The numbers are final.

After the June 28 primary I warned against detailed analysis based on early returns. Well, sharpen those pencils because Monday the State Board of Elections published final vote totals. Go to, click on the “publications” link on the upper right corner, scroll down to vote totals and choose “2022 General Primary,” which leads to a 192-page PDF offering information on registration and countywide totals for every race on the ballot.

Individual election authorities should have precinct-level data available by now as well. Raw numbers can’t fully explain voter motivation, but they do offer valuable context for short- and long-term trends.

Looking ahead, we’re only one week away from the first day to request a vote-by-mail ballot. The November ballot should be certified by the end of the month. At that point we’ll know for sure how many of the 177 General Assembly seats will be contested and begin to calculate whether Democrats are in real (if only statistical) jeopardy of losing their legislative majorities.

Ballot box fatigue is understandable, but being an educated, active voter remains important.

FRESH AIR FRIENDSHIP: I love a good travel gimmick. I also love a good writing gimmick. And I love Illinois, warts and all.

In other words, I am the absolute target audience for Fresh Air Friendship.

Launched in August 2021, the project is the brainchild of two Chicago natives in their late 20s – they list their first names as Stephanie and Emma – who drew inspiration from a 2019 girls trip to Utica. A day of hiking at Matthiesen State Park and a visit to a local winery sparked the desire to visit every Illinois state park, to write and photograph the experiences and share with the world as a way to promote these natural resources.

“Not a lot of people were talking about the parks,” the women write on “The main source of info was the government website for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. Even people who were writing or making videos about parks were either not dedicated to it, or they were writing on a very superficial level.”

When the pair appeared on a WFLD-TV interview last week they reported hiking at 26 of 132 parks. They’re not just tourists, but activists, having met in June with state Reps. Dan Swanson and Charlie Meier to discuss improving the park system. They post to Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and TikTok, but they’re really putting sincere effort into writing about their trips on the blog, going in-depth on the hiking trails and painting a vivid picture of each visit, a helpful guide for people who might follow in some, if not all, of their footsteps.

Scott T. Holland writes about state government issues for Shaw Media. Follow him on Twitter @sth749. He can be reached at

Scott Holland

Scott T. Holland

Scott T. Holland writes about state government issues for Shaw Media Illinois. Follow him on Twitter at @sth749. He can be reached at