A lawsuit filed by a federally appointed election advisor Tuesday alleged the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) secretly met with voting machine vendors to revise election security standards.

The complaint, filed Tuesday in the D.C. District Court by Free Speech for People, alleged the EAC held meetings from July to August 2020 with voting systems manufacturers, behind closed doors, to discuss revising election security standards. The agency then published these revisions on Feb. 1, 2021, which Free Speech for People argued benefited manufacturers by reducing compliance costs, “without the proper notice and comment procedure required by law.”

The standards published in February, known as the Voluntary Voting System Guidelines (VVSG), did not contain language that would have banned devices capable of connecting voting systems wirelessly to the internet, but did mandate these devices be disabled.

This was insufficient, the complaint argued, “because reliably, consistently, and effectively disabling the devices is complex and difficult.”

The EAC said the guidelines would still ban machines from connecting to the internet, according to the Associated Press.

“These back-door meetings resulted in secretly developed revisions to the standards that benefit manufacturers by weakening voting system security to reduce costs,” the group said in a statement.

The complaint also alleged the EAC had not allowed Free Speech for People, which had been appointed by the federal government to advise the standards-setting process, to participate in the discussions, and refused to provide the group with the communications that took place during the meetings.

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