Democratic Sen. Chris Coons says he's 'gravely concerned' about the 'abundant evidence' of nationwide voter suppression


As tensions over voting rights escalate, Democratic Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware said he is "gravely concerned" about nationwide voter suppression efforts. 

Speaking to Martha Raddatz on ABC News "This Week" on Sunday, Coons warned that "tricks and moves are being used at the local level to suppress the vote and to make it harder for working people, for seniors, for those who are medically vulnerable during a pandemic to vote."

Coons specifically cited a new Texas voting law that has caused a massive spike in rejected absentee ballot applications: "We're seeing laws like SB1 in Texas passed in a dozen states across the country that are clearly designed to accomplish voter suppression," Coons said on "This Week."

Senate Republicans unanimously voted down a major Democratic voting rights bill last week, simply by refusing to bring the bill to a vote. The move instigated a showdown over the Senate's filibuster rules as Democrats call to change the rules while Republicans resist.

"There are legitimate concerns about making sure there isn't widespread voter fraud. There isn't. We've investigated it repeatedly in the Congress," Coons said. "This was an important fight for us to show that sharp contrast between Democrats and Republicans this last week on the floor of the Senate but, more importantly, we need to keep working to make sure that every American can vote and vote safely and vote securely."

Coons said he has seen "cleverly crafted laws" that automatically remove people from voting rolls, make it harder to apply for mail-in ballots, and reduce access to ballot drop boxes, drive-through voting, and 24-hour early voting. 

"We made significant progress in making it easier for folks to vote in the pandemic in 2020. Why would we be rolling that back in a dozen states when the pandemic isn't over?" Coons asked. "Why would we be erecting new barriers for people to be able to vote?"