Fairfax County, Virginia has officially terminated its relationship with the U.S. software company Konnech after it was revealed that the tech firm allegedly stored the data of American poll workers in China.
In an email dated Oct. 6, Fairfax County Office of Elections General Registrar Eric Spicer wrote that as of Oct. 5, the department had “ceased its use of ‘PollChief,’ a [Konnech] software package that stores and manages information on election officers” and that it had asked the County Purchasing Agent to submit a “Notice of Contract Termination” to Konnech to “end the county’s contract with the company.”
In the termination document, election officials demanded that the software company immediately “provide Fairfax County with a copy of all of our election officer data,” “take down all of [the county’s] public facing systems,” and “delete all of [the county’s] customer data.”
“We are exploring alternatives to secure the best possible election officer management system,” Spicer wrote. “In the interim, we will do our best to ensure that communicate effectively with election officers and political party representatives and that we maintain and provide all required information. I am very confident that we will meet this challenge.”
Information stored by PollChief includes the “name, mailing address, phone numbers, email address and date of birth” of poll workers, according to a press release by the Fairfax County GOP.
The move by Fairfax election officials to terminate the county’s relationship with Konnech came a day after the Office of Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón arrested Konnech CEO Eugene Yu “on suspicion of theft of personal identifying information.” In addition to seeking Yu’s extradition to Los Angeles, Gascón’s office “found that in contradiction to the [Los Angeles County] contract, information was stored on servers in the People’s Republic of China.”
In addition to Fairfax County, the city of Detroit, Michigan also announced that it would be ending its contract with Konnech.
Prior to Yu’s arrest on Oct. 4, New York Times reporter Stuart Thompson lambasted “election deniers” and “conspiracy theorists” for expressing concerns over Konnech’s potential connections to the Chinese government. In a bid to further smear Americans who have legitimate concerns about the security of U.S. elections, Thompson proceeded to throw all aspects of journalistic integrity out the window and take Yu at his word that “none of the accusations were true.”
Within the next day, Thompson was forced to issue a follow-up story detailing Yu’s arrest and the revelation that his firm reportedly stored poll worker data in China.