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Last Updated: Thursday, 7 December 2006, 10:37 GMT
Young US voters: Amanda

Name: Amanda
Age: 17
Lives: St Paul Park, Minnesota
Occupation: High school student
Current voting intention: Undecided
In 10 words or less:
"A concerned future voter from the suburbs of Minnesota"

I have no idea how I will vote in 2008.

Although I usually agree more with the Democrats than the Republicans, I will try to give more attention to how the candidates stand on individual issues, rather than what party they belong to.

Personally, I am most concerned about education, social security, and the war in Iraq.

I feel that education needs to be improved in this country, especially the No Child Left Behind programme.

Congress needs to do something to make college more affordable for people like myself, and provide us with financial aid.

Social Security also concerns me. It is under terrible strain and when it runs out, the nation is going to have a huge problem on its hands that is going to affect every age group, particularly my parents' generation.

The war in Iraq is a problem that affects every US citizen in one way or another. I do not believe that the troops will be out of Iraq by 2008, and if nothing is done, they will be playing referee in the middle of a civil war.

Other issues that young voters will care about in 2008 are abortion, gay rights, and the war on terror.

Right now, there is no one that really represents the youth vote. US politicians seem to alienate themselves from younger voters, preferring instead to focus on courting the older vote.

They do this because they assume, partly correctly, that younger voters are too wrapped up in their lives to care about what is going on in this country.

Another concern for young people is whether we should bother to vote, and whether it will make a difference at all.

I am not even sure if my vote will count, due to the electoral college system.

It upsets me as a first-time voter that because of this system, the candidate that is supported by the majority of voters does not always win, as we saw in 2000.

This needs to be changed before we can go to the polls confident our vote will influence the outcome.

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