Moderate Democratic Sen. Bob Casey Jr. says GOP-led restrictive voting bills 'are about white supremacy'

Moderate Democratic Sen. Bob Casey Jr. says GOP-led restrictive voting bills 'are about white supremacy'
Sen. Bob Casey Jr. of Pennsylvania. ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images
  • Sen. Bob Casey Jr. criticized the raft of GOP-led voting laws being pursued across the country.
  • "We're at a point of no return," he said after the Supreme Court upheld two restrictive Arizona laws.
  • Casey said the GOP has concluded that it "can only win by voter suppression bills."

Democratic Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania on Saturday blasted the Republican Party for endorsing restrictive voting bills across the country, describing the push for such legislation as forms of "white supremacy."

During an appearance on MSNBC's "Velshi," the moderate lawmaker issued a dire warning about the state of elections in the US, just days after the Supreme Court upheld two restrictive voting laws in Arizona that had been challenged for violating Section 2 of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

Casey expressed that the Senate would likely have to alter its rules to move voting rights legislation through the chamber with 51 votes.

"We're at a point of no return," he said. "We're either going to preserve our democracy, and thereby protect voter rights to preserve the democracy, or we're not. Democrats have to stand up and get something done. I think we can do that, because it's apparent to me that Republicans are just going to endorse these voter suppression bills."

He added: "At its core, we should just be blunt about this, these voter suppression bills are about white supremacy."


Casey said Republicans seemed to be working as "a one-or two-issue agenda party where they seem to be only interested in stopping [President] Joe Biden's programs, especially on these caregiving issues and supporting voter suppression bills."

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The Supreme Court on Thursday ruled 6-3 to keep in place Arizona laws that toss provisional ballots filed at the wrong voting precinct and prevent third-party groups from returning mail ballots.

The former Arizona law was previously struck down by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in January, with the judge ruling that it disproportionately affected Black, Latino and Indigenous voters.

Last week, Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf vetoed a GOP-backed voting overhaul bill that would have changed election deadlines and strengthened voter identification requirements, among other measures.


During the MSNBC interview, Casey said that Republicans would continue to push similar pieces of legislation.

'This is agenda item number one for the Republican Party," he said. "This is going to be the norm, because Republicans have concluded that they can't win by getting more votes. They can only win by voter suppression bills."

Democrats have seen their legislative push for voting rights languish in recent months.

The For the People Act, the party's marquee voting rights legislation, would end partisan gerrymandering, expand early and absentee voting, establish national standards for voter registration, and blunt voter purges, among other things.

The bill would also mandate that states offer mail-in ballots and same-day voter registration, which Republicans have long resisted in many states.


In March, the House passed the legislation in a near party-line 220-210 vote.

However, late last month, an attempt to advance the legislation failed in the Senate, with all Republicans opposed to the bill.

The John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, an elections bill which would restore parts of the Voting Rights Act that were struck down by the Supreme Court in 2013 in Shelby County v. Holder, also faces a difficult path forward, with GOP Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky opposed to the legislation.