ELECTION DAY. Voters check their names and precinct numbers on the voters’ list at the covered court of the Delfin Geraldez Elementary School, Salvia Street, Barangay Kaligayahan, Novaliches-Fairview, Quezon City on Monday (May 9, 2022). Other voters patiently waited for their turn to vote in the holding area as social distancing was observed as part of the Covid-19 protocols. (PNA photo by Oliver Marquez)

QUEZON CITY – On previous occasions, those who tend to vote early on Election Day have been getting a smoother flow in casting their votes.

This year's polls are a different one.

With a lot of factors that kicked in, at least some of the "early birds" found themselves having to endure long lines and hours of waiting before getting their turn to vote.

One major factor behind this was a call of encouragement from some presidential camps to vote early presumably so that their votes would count without any hitch.

While some, especially those within my circles of friends who also accepted the challenge, got to vote just as the precincts opened at 6 a.m. Monday, a good chunk of the voters who answered the "challenge" still missed the supposed 10 a.m. "cut-off" for the early bird votes.

While currently residing in Los Baños, where I spent my college days at the University of the Philippines campus there, I have my childhood home here as my voting residence.

So I took a two-and-a-half-hour ride from Los Baños to the GSIS Village Multi-Purpose Hall on Barangay Bahay Toro in Quezon City to vote.

If this was either of the past two times I got to vote on the national level, I would have been done in at most one hour, waiting time included.

But the unthinkable happened.

Feeling confident despite arriving at 9 a.m. at the polling place, I thought I would still make it "in time" for the 10 a.m. "early deadline".

Instead, I found myself in a long queue with some of my fellow voters who were also looking to get their votes early on.

Due to the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic, restrictions have been set inside the venue, which mainly functions as a basketball court for the village and the barangay, especially limiting the number of voters allowed per voting cluster.

I missed the 10 a.m. early vote threshold as the line only moved a little in the one-hour timeframe.

What further hampered the proceedings was that the voting in one polling cluster had to be postponed for a bit apparently to some concerns regarding a voting counting machine.

Eventually, I got to vote, but it was already past noon, a shade over two hours past the challenge deadline.

Some speculate that because I voted beyond 10 a.m., my vote could now be prone to potential hiccups. I just hope my vote will be counted as is. (PNA)