2 DC Suburbs Drop Contracts With Election Software program Firm Beneath Scrutiny for China Ties

After the arrest final week of the CEO of an election software program firm amid alleged ties to China, not less than two suburban counties outdoors the nation’s capital canceled contracts with the corporate, Konnech Inc.

The strikes by Virginia’s Fairfax and Prince William counties follows cancellations by Detroit and Los Angeles County, the place the District Legal professional’s Workplace has alleged that Michigan-based Konnech stole details about election officers and ballot staff. 

Fairfax and Prince William canceled their contracts to make use of Konnech’s main product, PollChief. 

“Efficient this week, we have now suspended utilizing PollChief and are erasing any knowledge contained on their server to keep away from any additional knowledge points,” Prince William County announced in an Oct. 7 tweet. 

Eric Spicer, Fairfax County’s director of elections, issued an announcement that the county emailed Tuesday to The Every day Sign. 

“Out of an abundance of warning, the Fairfax County Workplace of Elections has ceased its use of PollChief election officer administration software program utilized in Fairfax County, and is ending its contract with the software program’s developer, Konnech,” Spicer stated within the ready assertion. 

Eugene Yu, founder and president of Konnech, was arrested by native police in Michigan in reference to an investigation into the attainable theft of non-public figuring out info from election staff in Los Angeles County. 

>>> Associated: GOP Lawmakers Fear About China Ties of Election Software program Firm Accused of Stealing Information

The Epoch Instances reported Fairfax County’s determination Thursday, the day after the arrest grew to become nationwide information. The Fairfax County Republican Get together famous that it beforehand made public data requests to the county about Konnech earlier than the arrest of Yu, the corporate’s prime government.

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“It is very important word that Fairfax County has by no means used software program from this firm to gather or retailer delicate private info reminiscent of Social Safety numbers or banking info,” Spicer stated within the written assertion. “Moreover, this software program isn’t linked to the county’s voting methods or the state voter registration system. It can’t be used to tabulate votes or election outcomes.”

Yu, born in China, emigrated to the US in 1986, Newsweek reported. His firm has 21 staff in America and 6 in Australia. Konnech had garnered contracts with 32 shoppers in North America. 

Los Angeles County canceled a five-year, $2.9 million contract with Konnech. Los Angeles County District Legal professional George Gascón, a Democrat below fireplace for being tender on criminals, stated the alleged offense by Konnech had no impression on election outcomes. 

Detroit terminated its $320,000 contract with Konnech, which was permitted final yr by the Metropolis Council, the town’s NPR affiliate, WDET, reported Friday. The corporate had labored for the town since 2008. 

“Our knowledge, which is now again below our unique management, was housed on servers situated in Lansing, Michigan. Konnech, per its contract, solely offered logistical and name heart assist,” Detroit Metropolis Clerk Janice Winfrey informed WDET. 

“Out of an abundance of warning, all correct steps are being taken — together with the termination of Konnech’s contract. My workers and I are assured that the 2022 election course of will run easily, delivering, in any case votes have been counted, an unimpeachable work product,” Winfrey stated.

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On Tuesday, a  Konnech consultant requested The Every day Sign on Tuesday to ship an e-mail inquiry, which the corporate consultant stated can be handed alongside to the election software program firm’s public relations agency. Nobody had responded to that e-mail inquiry as of publication time. 

Konnech promotes PollChief as an “Election Employee Administration System,” saying on its web site: “Handle your ballot staff with one complete and intuitive software program software.”

The advertising textual content continues: “Our ballot employee administration software is particularly designed for election managers. This software program software will eradicate the tedious parts of your administration course of and assist you manage and streamline your operations, saving you money and time.”

Konnech’s web site touts its merchandise as “Utilized by hundreds of Election Workplaces throughout North America.”

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