In response to a federal Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by Free Speech For People in March, the U.S. Election Assistance Commission has disclosed an initial batch of records of its closed-door meetings with voting machine vendors that led to recent last-minute changes in federal voting system guidelines. Those meetings led to unpublished and rushed changes that favor private vendors and weaken key security provisions in proposed voting system guidelines to permit the inclusion of wireless connectivity.


In July of 2020, FSFP learned that the Election Assistance Commission might be holding private, weekly meetings with voting machine manufacturers to discuss the companies’ comments and proposed revisions to the draft Voluntary Voting System Guidelines (VVSG) 2.0. The public notice and comment period concerning the VVSG 2.0 closed in June of 2020, but these closed-door meetings between the agency and the industry continued well afterwards.

FSFP issued a request for records under the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) seeking records of communications between the U.S. Election Assistance Commission and the most prominent voting machine manufacturers: Election Systems & Software, Dominion Voting, Unisyn Voting, Clear Ballot, VotingWorks, and Hart InterCivic.

For many months, the EAC did not respond to FSFP’s request for communications with vendors.  On February 10, 2021, the EAC voted to approve the VVSG 2.0—merely nine days after making public a “final” version with extensive and material revisions to the “draft” circulated during public notice and comment.

On March 29, 2021 we sued the EAC for its failure to respond to our request for its communications with voting machine manufacturers, as well as its failure to respond to other FOIA requests.

Learn more about the case

Release of Records

On April 16, 2021, in response to our lawsuit, the EAC responded to our request with records of communications that confirm and memorialize the ongoing private meetings between the EAC and the regulated voting machine manufacturers.

However, the agency’s response is incomplete. It purports to withhold certain records based on the vague assertion of an inapplicable statutory exemption.

Here is the agency’s response to our Request # 20-00039 and the disclosed records.

The agency has yet to respond to other FOIA requests that are also the subject of our lawsuit.