First-time voters have their say on General Election

Toby the Norfolk Terrier outside the polling station at Cromer Community Centre.Picture: ANTONY KELL

Toby the Norfolk Terrier outside the polling station at Cromer Community Centre.Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

Thousands of people will be voting for the first time across the region today - here's what some of them had to say.

Charity Woodruff, 20, from Bungay in Suffolk, studying at Royal Holloway University, said: 'I will be voting this morning. It is exciting to think that my vote could actually make a difference. The recession has made it increasingly difficult for students to find jobs and has caused a raise in university tuition fees, it is because of these issues that I feel my vote is important. It would be wrong to not vote after women fought for so long to have their say.'

Kate Watts, 20, from Great Yarmouth, studying at Reading University, decided not to vote: 'I won't be voting because I don't feel like I know enough about different political parties. My parents don't take very much interest either which doesn't really help. It all seems far too confusing.'

Bethany Woolley, 20, Thorpe Marriott, studying at Lincoln University, felt she had 'the opportunity to have an input into how our country is run. Every vote counts.'

Sarah Kett, 19, from Drayton, studying Law at Lancaster University, said: 'I think it's important to engage those who are potentially politically apathetic, especially young people. We will be affected enormously by policies in light of the economic crash, which will affect us as we look for post-graduate employment and first time houses. I will be voting.'

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Kate Munson, 19, from Taverham, studying Forensic Science at the University of Kent, said: 'As a first time voter it's been difficult to know who to support. Issues such as welfare and income tax have never affected me as a student, so I don't know which policies will be best for those they do affect. I want to have my voice heard however so I did vote this morning.'

David Vaughan, 22, from Horsford, has chosen not to vote: 'I will not be voting because I am not overly fussed about who wins. It just seems that the problems and scandals are always the same no matter who is in government. I'm sure I will care when I am older though.'

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Fellow first-time voter Lauren Burton, 22, from Attleborough, said: 'I think that being able to vote for the first time is quite exciting but it has been difficult to decide which party will prioritise the issues I feel most strongly about.'

Helena Wysocki, 20, from Norwich, currently studies in Holland but will be voting in Norwich. She said: 'I will be voting Labour. When I was voting I was frustrated by the system of proportional representation which made me feel like I should be tactical. I would have loved to have supported Green but in a constituency where Labour and Conservative are almost tied it felt like a waste. As I don't live in the UK my mum has acted as a proxy voter on my behalf, which meant my experience was different to most first time voters. It was strange being abroad and not getting to watch all the political speeches. However, it's been great to see that even people from other countries are interested in the outcome of the election.'

Louis Eastwood, 20, from Norwich and studying Politics and International Relations at Exeter University, was 'excited to be a first time voter as whilst the media has labelled this campaign dull and defensive, that doesn't detract from the sense of decisiveness that today brings. I believe that voting in this election is so important for young people because there are stark choices presented to us about the future of our country, and it's the youngest that are going to have to live with these for the longest. I would not want to squander this opportunity to be heard and to create change.'

Rebecca Lemon, 19, from Thorpe, said: 'I'm pleased that I can finally have an input and a voice as a young person. As I will begin studying to be a paramedic in September policies surrounding the NHS are particularly important to me.'

Ruth Vaughan, 20, from Taverham and studying at Royal Holloway University, said: 'I am voting for Labour today and am excited to finally have a say in the way our country is run. Five years seems a long time to have been governed by a party whose policies I do not agree with.'

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