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Page last updated at 15:27 GMT, Wednesday, 7 April 2010 16:27 UK
Election 2010: South Yorkshire

Charlotte Scothern

Eighteen year old Charlotte Scothern is looking forward to voting for the first time. Charlotte lives in Wickersley and is a member of Rotherham's Youth Cabinet.

She is going to university in the summer and is very interested in what the parties say about education, especially tuition fees.

She told Radio Sheffield that she has been looking forward to voting for years and is keen to have her say...

Why are you excited about in the forthcoming election?

I am looking forward to voting as it is a chance to have my say on the big issues that matter to me, the government make decisions that affect my everyday life, and that will affect my future.

If one group of people are going to make these decisions for me, I want my say in electing them, and voting is my way to do that. Also this year more then ever, every vote counts and it means my vote is even more important.

Why are you involved in politics?

I've been involved in politics through UK Youth Parliament and Rotherham Youth Cabinet. Although both of these groups are apolitical, you get to learn more about different issues that matter to me, and you get to meet people from the various parties. The more I become passionate about issues the more I pay attention to what politicians have to say about them.

Why do you think so many young people aren't registered to vote?

I think part of it is because voting can seem unimportant, most young people only can remember Labour being in power and therefore they think whether they vote or not, Labour will stay in power.

I often feel that young people feel that their say doesn't count, or isn't important, but its going to be such a close call this year, every vote counts and this is what everyone not just young people need to realise. Also choosing a party can seem rather daunting, politicians are often in the media, saying different things on lots of different issues, and choosing one party can seem difficult.

What do you care about?

Personally I care about a lot of issues, from housing to the NHS, but the main thing for me this year will be decisions taken about universities, with their funding and tuition fees etc, as I start university in September, so this is an issue that will affect me in the near future.

I like England for the help we give the people most in need, whether through benefits or access to the NHS, and these are issues that I will be paying close attention to.

Do you think some young people don't understand politics - or think they don't understand?

In my opinion, there are lots of issues and lot of parties, all with contradicting views. There is also the formality of it all, with different people within the government with different roles, and a lot of the time adults don't really understand the system, so it is difficult to ask questions and understand.

Young people are aware that a lots of the time politicians don't always say what they really mean, so a lot of the time you have to read between the lines. There is very little education within schools about politics, so the confusing world of politics is rarely explained. For me, the most important thing is not understanding the ins and outs of the system. It is about voting for the policies of a party that match what you want them to do if they do get into power.



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