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There were plenty of good places to fill out your ballot at Marie’s Golden Cue. | Mitch Dudek/Sun-Times

At Marie’s Golden Cue, call your shot — and cast your ballot

SHARE At Marie’s Golden Cue, call your shot — and cast your ballot
SHARE At Marie’s Golden Cue, call your shot — and cast your ballot

The click of billiard balls knocking into each other was soothing for Christina Sanders Tuesday morning as she filled out her election day ballot.

She performed her civic duty at Marie’s Golden Cue, an Albany Park pool hall that boasts a giant sign out front: “We have smooth shafts and clean balls.”

For decades it has taken on the dual roles of BYOB pool hall and polling station.

“A lot of times you’re in church basements or park district field houses or schools. We have a pool hall on Montrose Avenue,” Sanders said.

A few teenagers played pool in the back Tuesday morning. The front tables, where the polling stations were set up, were off limits.

The business of self-government didn’t stop the business of doing business at Marie’s Golden Cue. | Mitch Dudek/Sun-Times

The business of self-government didn’t stop the business of doing business at Marie’s Golden Cue. | Mitch Dudek/Sun-Times

Several voters filled out ballots on pool tables, where the hanging lights provided the best view for small print.

“It’s always one of the more interesting places to cast your vote,” said Sanders, 38, a freelance editor who lives in the neighborhood.

“Maybe it helps get out the vote because it makes a more interesting morning,” said Monica Richart, 37, adjunct professor of environmental science at DePaul University.

Richart’s daughter, Madeline, 3, hung on her leg and was slightly put off when she was denied access to pool cues.

Quirky polling stations are the exception but can be found across the city.

Monica Richart took her daughter Madeline to vote Albany Park on Tuesday. | Mitch Dudek/Sun-Times

Monica Richart took her daughter Madeline to vote Albany Park on Tuesday. | Mitch Dudek/Sun-Times

In Bucktown, for 26 years, voters have headed to an Italian joint, Club Lucky.

Before Jimmy Higgins bought the place 26 years ago, it was a Polish tavern where people had gathered for decades on election day to vote.

Higgins changed the cuisine but kept the name, the iconic sign and the polling place tradition because so many older folks in the neighborhood depended on being able to vote within walking distance..

“For some people it’s a tradition. Come and vote and stay and have a nice meal,” he said Tuesday.

Mary Suma lives in an apartment above Club Lucky and simply walks down stairs to vote.

“We could stay in our pajamas and walk down the back way that leads directly to the polling place,” said Suma’s daughter, Maggie, 27. “But mom makes us walk outside and in the front door, very official — even last election when it was raining.”

The Sumas don’t take their unique spot for granted.

A mobile phone store shut down for the day so it could be used as a polling place. | Mitch Dudek/Sun-Times

A mobile phone store shut down for the day so it could be used as a polling place. | Mitch Dudek/Sun-Times

“I’ve lived in smaller towns and even the mountains and never felt the neighborhood feeling that we have here,” said Mary Suma, who works for Apple.

“People tie their dogs up outside and Jimmy’s there to greet you, which is a wonderful feeling in this time of such division, to know you’re part of a neighborhood,” she said.

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