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

Felony fees in California in opposition to the chief govt of a software program firm stated to be tied to China have sparked nationwide issues about election safety. 

Eugene Yu, founder and president of the election software program firm Konnech Inc., was arrested by native police in Michigan in reference to an investigation into the potential theft of private figuring out info for election employees in Los Angeles County. 

“Allegations that the non-public information of election employees was criminally mishandled by an organization concerned within the administration of elections elevate deep issues each for the privateness of Individuals and for the integrity of our elections,” Rep. Claudia Tenney, R-N.Y., co-chairman of the Home Election Integrity Caucus, informed The Each day Sign in a written assertion. 

“These concerned in election administration should at all times be held to the best requirements for safety, transparency, and accountability,” Tenney stated.

Konnech had a $2.9 million, five-year contract to provide and preserve the software program utilized in managing Los Angeles County election ballot employees. 

The felony case is a component of a bigger downside, Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind., chairman of the Republican Examine Committee, informed The Each day Sign. 

“That is simply the most recent instance of why we have to do extra to extend election safety and transparency,” Banks stated in a written assertion. “That’s the reason I launched the Save Democracy Act to require nationwide voter ID, [which] permits two representatives from every presidential marketing campaign to look at ballot and poll counting operations and ensures poll counting isn’t interrupted or delayed as soon as it has begun.”

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Konnech, primarily based in Michigan, develops software program to handle election logistics equivalent to scheduling ballot employees. The corporate beforehand denied that it saved data wherever outdoors the US. 

Nevertheless, a press launch issued Tuesday by the Los Angeles County District Lawyer’s Workplace says that investigators “discovered that in contradiction to the contract, info was saved on servers within the Individuals’s Republic of China.”

Los Angeles County District Lawyer George Gascón, a Democrat beneath hearth for being mushy on criminals, stated the alleged crime had no impression on election outcomes. 

“This investigation is anxious solely with the non-public figuring out info of election employees,” Gascón stated. “On this case, the alleged conduct had no impression on the tabulation of votes and didn’t alter election outcomes.”

He added: “However safety in all points of any election is crucial in order that all of us have full religion within the integrity of the election course of.”

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

On the prime of its touchdown web page, the web site says: “Streamline your election administration course of and save your workers money and time with our business main software program merchandise.”

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“At Konnech, election logistic software program is all we do,” Konnech’s “About web page” says, including:

For practically 20 years we now have been refining our software program options primarily based on the suggestions and recommendation from the election managers we accomplice with and may confidently say that our know-how is among the many best, nuanced, and cost-saving within the business. …

[O]ur founder and president, Eugene Yu, has applied a client-centered method. We hearken to what you want in a system and can configure and customise our merchandise so that you just obtain the precise answer you want.

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

The Meridian Township Police Division in Michigan took Yu into custody Tuesday after the Los Angeles County District Lawyer’s Workplace referred to as for his extradition to California on suspicion of stealing private figuring out info.

The Each day Sign sought remark from Konnech by each e mail and phone. An organization worker stated she would move alongside the request and get in touch with info to a media spokesperson, however nobody had responded by publication time. 

Based mostly on what seems to be Konnech’s unverified Twitter account, the corporate’s most recent tweet was June 23, and stated: “Konnech has been acknowledged as one of many 2022 ‘Michigan 50 Corporations to Watch,’ an awards program introduced by Michigan Celebrates Small Enterprise.” 

The corporate didn’t publish something on Twitter about Yu’s arrest 

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A Konnech spokesperson informed The New York Occasions that the corporate needed to study the info “of what we consider to be Mr. Yu’s wrongful detention.” The unnamed spokesperson stood by earlier statements denying wrongdoing. 

“Any L.A. County ballot employee information that Konnech might have possessed was offered to it by L.A. County and due to this fact couldn’t have been ‘stolen’ as prompt,” the spokesperson stated.

Konnech’s predominant product is PollChief software program, an election employee administration system utilized by native governments to help with ballot employee assignments, communications, and payroll. PollChief requires staff to submit private figuring out info, which is retained by Konnech, in accordance with the district lawyer’s workplace. 

Federal regulation enforcement ought to examine the matter, stated Hans von Spakovsky, a former Justice Division lawyer who  manages the Election Regulation Reform Initiative at The Heritage Basis, guardian group of The Each day Sign. 

“It raises quite a lot of issues, notably as a result of we don’t but know the extent of the data that was downloaded or stolen, whether or not it concerned different election-related databases, to what extent these databases have been compromised, and what modifications or manipulation of the data has occurred,” von Spakovsky informed The Each day Sign. 

“Whereas native authorities are at present investigating, the potential involvement of Chinese language sources requires that the FBI and the Nationwide Safety Division of the Justice Division intercede within the investigation.”

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