Clinton vows to improve voter access to polls

WEST COLUMBIA -- Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton on Friday vowed to roll back obstacles to the voting booth, to ensure access to ballots and to expand voter registration.

While the fight for the right to vote was settled a generation ago, the fight for equality across races continues, Clinton said at the Voter Education Project's annual awards dinner at Brookland Baptist Church in West Columbia.

"We have reason to celebrate the progress we have made," said Clinton, a U.S. senator from New York. "We cannot become complacent. There are still today too many in our country even as we speak who believe many people do not deserve the right to vote, and they still engage in behaviors that try to prevent our fellow citizens from voting."

If everyone who was registered to vote in South Carolina actually cast a ballot, she said, "this state would be a much different place."

"There is still a long way for us to go to realize the promise of the Voter Education Project," Clinton said.

The Voter Education Project was born after the 1965 Voting Rights Act and continues its original goal of helping minorities register to vote and participate in the political process.

Clinton ignores criticism

Meanwhile, Clinton either doesn't have enough experience or has too much experience, depending on which of her chief Democratic or Republican rivals is talking.

Republican former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani is in the not enough experience camp, saying Friday at a stop in Columbia that the New York senator has never run a local or state government and "had the responsibility for the safety and security of the people on your shoulders."

On the other end is Illinois Sen. Barack Obama. The Democrat is quick to tell crowds Clinton has the wrong kind of experience -- being too close to lobbyists and too willing to compromise key issues.

Clinton chuckles at the competing thoughts. "I don't know what they're talking about. But I can't run anyone else's campaign. I can only run my campaign. And my campaign is about a positive agenda for America's future," she said to the Associated Press on Friday.