VA county stops using Konnech election software following CEO’s arrest | Eastern North Carolina Now | Theft of personal ID

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By Terri Wu writing for The Epoch Times

FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va.—A county in northern Virginia has ceased the use of election software by Konnech Corp. after the arrest of the company’s executive earlier this week.

Konnech CEO Eugene Yu, 51, was arrested in Michigan on Oct. 4 as part of an investigation into the suspected “theft of personal identifying information” of Los Angeles County election workers, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s (DA) Office.

Michigan-based Konnech won a five-year contract with Los Angeles county in 2020, and stored election workers’ data on servers in China, the DA’s Office said. The office is now seeking Yu’s extradition to Los Angeles.

PollChief, Konnech’s election worker management system product, was designed to assist with poll worker assignments, communications, and payroll, according to the statement.

After learning about the arrest on Tuesday, the Fairfax County Office of Elections has stopped using Konnech’s PollChief election officer management software, said director and general registrar of the county’s Office of Elections, Eric Spicer, in an emailed statement to The Epoch Times on Oct. 6.

The county is also ending its contract with Konnech, Spicer added. Fairfax County election officials declined to comment on whether the county was securing a replacement software given the fast-approaching midterm election day.

“It is important to note that Fairfax County has never used software from this company to collect or store sensitive personal information such as social security numbers or banking information,” Spicer said in the statement.

“Furthermore, this software is not connected to the county’s voting systems or the state voter registration system. It cannot be used to tabulate votes or election results,” he added.

The county’s election officer portal, which runs on the PollChief software, currently says it’s unavailable: “We expect to resume service in approximately one week. We will email all existing officers when the Portal is available again.”

Among the PollChief products purchased by the county was the PollChief Worker Management System, PollChief Worker Self-service Portal, PollChief Asset Management System, and the PollChief Help-Desk Management System, according to a May invoice issued by Konnech obtained by The Epoch Times.

The 2016 contract between Konnech and the county, also obtained by The Epoch Times, states that the company’s servers are located in Lansing, Michigan, and that it also has a back-up server located nearby in Okemos.

Christine Brim, a coordinator of the Fairfax County GOP election integrity working group that recruits and trains poll watchers to observe voting on behalf of the Republican Party, confirmed she was notified yesterday about the county’s decision in a phone call from Christopher Henzel, chairman of the county electoral board and a Republican.

Brim praised the county’s election officials for taking swift action.

“They did not wait to find an alternative vendor. They simply got out of the risky situation, to their credit,” she told The Epoch Times. “They just turned on a dime, said ‘no more,’ and got out.”

Brim said she was informed that Fairfax County didn’t use PollChief for payrolls, and only stored workers’ names and contact information on the platform. This doesn’t eliminate the risk but it limits it, Brim said.

According to Brim, the county used PollChief to manage election officers’ training, scheduling, and communication. Spicer told Brim that the county never used the PollChief Asset Management System, which logs election equipment and poll location data, because it didn’t work, she said.

With 264 precincts in the county, and between five to 10 election officers needed per precinct for election day on Nov. 8, switching software now could be “extremely challenging,” Brim said.

Another use of PollChief by the county was to accept applications for election officer positions via the election officer portal, which is now unavailable, Brim said. But people interested in becoming election officers can still apply through the Virginia Department of Election, which will distribute the application to the corresponding counties.

Virginia started early in-person voting on Sept. 23. Fairfax County began with three locations and would add another 13 on Oct. 27.

The Epoch Times has reached out to Konnech for comment.

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