Minneapolis officials confirmed they are looking into whether any poll worker data was breached under their contract with Konnech, Inc., an election software company whose founder was arrested last week.
Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon announced Tuesday that Konnech CEO Eugene Yu was taken into custody “on suspicion of theft of personal identifying information.”
“Data breaches are an ongoing threat to our digital way of life. When we entrust a company to hold our confidential data, they must be willing and able to protect our personal identifying information from theft. Otherwise, we are all victims,” Gascon said.
“This investigation is concerned solely with the personal identifying information of election workers. In this case, the alleged conduct had no impact on the tabulation of votes and did not alter election results. But security in all aspects of any election is essential so that we all have full faith in the integrity of the election process,” he added.
Los Angeles County was under a $2.9 million, five-year contract with Konnech for the use of its PollChief software, which “assists with poll worker assignments, communications and payroll.”
Gascon said PollChief requires that workers submit personal identifying information, which is retained by Konnech. The contract required Konnech to securely maintain the data and ensure that only U.S. citizens and permanent residents had access to it.
In violation of the contract, data was stored on servers in the People’s Republic of China, Gascon said.
Minneapolis confirmed with Alpha News that it also uses PollChief to “manage and schedule poll workers.”
“The City is taking the allegations made against PollChief’s manufacturer very seriously. We’re looking into the matter and seeing whether this affects any Minneapolis poll worker data. At this point, the City has no reason to believe its poll worker data is involved,” a spokesperson said.
“PollChief software is not used in the voting process or in the counting of votes. A separate, unrelated system is used for the tabulation of ballots that is provided by a different vendor,” he added.
In September, Yu filed a defamation claim against a nonprofit called True the Vote after it claimed to have accessed the personal data of millions of poll workers from a Konnech server hosted in China, according to The New York Times.
“Election integrity should not be a partisan issue, nor should media try to suppress all conversation about it in a way that benefits one party,” True the Vote Founder Catherine Engelbrecht said in a statement after Yu’s arrest. “We will continue to report evidence of threats to our election process and work with law enforcement to ensure our elections are a secure space for all American voters.”