As the polls opened at 7am this morning reporter ROBERT FISK was there to chat to voters about why they felt it was important to cast their vote.

Your Local Guardian:
Crystal Palace FC fan Sheila Richardson was one of the first people to vote this morning

One of the first through the door at the polling station at Ark Oval Primary Academy, Cherry Orchard Road, Croydon, was former Crystal Palace FC receptionist Sheila Richardson.

The 74-year-old, of Leslie Grove, Croydon, is almost as passionate about voting as she is about the Eagles.

She said: "I vote every time.

"We vote because we should.

"Even if you think they are a waste of time, you look at films where women were killed [when trying] to get the vote.

"I hope that people that don’t vote don’t complain.

"For these particular elections I think Nicola Sturgeon has stirred up a hornet’s nest. It takes somebody like that to get us all going."

Your Local Guardian:
Ruthie Richards-Levi thinks it is important to vote

Taking her five-year-old Rottweiler Raja on a trip to the polling station was Jeanette Nathan whoshe believed it was her duty to vote.

"It’s very important. I do like to grumble and I have no right to grumble unless I do something about the reasons why I grumble.

"We are all Croydonians and we have to put Croydon first and then the country."

Ruthie Richards-Levi, 50, said: "Voting is one of the few ways that we can demonstrate our feelings.

"If you want to change things then you can do it by voting.

"Croydon is a developing place all the time so it is important to see that the MP comes and visits us even when there’s not an election on."

Catrin Jones decided to vote in a general election for the first time despite feeling overwhelmed by the campaign.

The 27-year-old said: "I haven’t been as engaged with the campaign as I would like to be because it is overwhelming, the amount of research you could do, but it’s really important to vote.

"I have quite liked the literature through the door but I find with the internet there is so much rhetoric.

"It’s hard to get to the bottom of the policies."

Wetherspoons shift manager Kodzo Atigla, of Oval Road, said: "I always vote but this time I think it is a big decision we have to make.

"All of the candidates came to my door and so I felt I could make an informed decision about what it was about.

Holly Stacey, of Cross Road, Croydon, came to the polling station with her boyfriend Kieron Heavens, 31.
Your Local Guardian:
Kodzo Atigla says this year everyone has to make a big decision

The 28-year-old said: "This is the first time I have voted in Croydon Central and it is very exciting to be in a marginal.

"You know you’re going to make a difference and it is going to have an effect on the national government as well because it is going to be so close."

Mark Gorsuch, of Leslie Park Road, said: "It is your right to vote and you have to exercise your right to vote.

Your Local Guardian:
Holly Stacey, pictured with her boyfriend Kieron Heavens, was pleased to know her vote will make a difference

"A lot of people moan about things and they don’t vote and I think why do that? It is madness. How can you express an opinion if you don’t vote.

"I do not think anyone is going to get a majority and there might even be another election this year to be honest."

The polling station next to St Mark’s School, Albert Road, South Norwood, has reportedly been busier this year than for previous elections with 130 people voting by 10am.

Your Local Guardian:
Addia Owusu-Ansah voted for the first time today

"It has been on Christian radio that Christians do not really vote but we criticise a lot so I thought I would come out and vote.

"You make your decision now and even if it does not happen you have made your point.

"I did not really see the point before.

"I voted more on national issues with the most important one for me being the NHS."

Find out how your vote affected the result and learn all about the winners with the Croydon Guardian live blog. After polls close at 10pm we will be sharing all the news and gossip from the night so stick with us for the long haul.