Electoral Software Executive Arrested on Suspicion of Theft
The Los Angeles County district attorney’s office did not immediately respond to questions about the arrest. The county said in its statement that it was seeking to extradite Yu, who lives in Michigan, to Los Angeles.
Konnech came under scrutiny this year from a number of election deniers, including the founder of True the Vote, a nonprofit organization that says it’s dedicated to uncovering voter fraud. True the Vote said its team had downloaded personal information about 1.8 million US poll workers from a server owned by Konnech and hosted in China. He said he obtained the data using the server’s default password, which he said was “password,” according to online accounts of people who attended a voter fraud conference where the allegations were made. The group provided no evidence that it had downloaded the data, saying it had given the information to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The claims quickly spread online, with some advocates raising concerns about China’s influence on the US electoral system.
Complaints about Konnech reached Dekalb County in Georgia, which was close to signing a contract with the company. County Republican Party Chairwoman Marci McCarthy raised her concern during a public comment period at the county board of elections meeting on September 8, questioning where the company stored and secured its data.
Konnech refuted the claims, telling The New York Times that he had records for fewer than 240,000 workers at the time and had not detected any data breaches. Konnech owned a subsidiary in China that developed and tested software. The company said that programmers always used “dummy” test data. The subsidiary was closed in 2021.
Last month, Konnech sued True the Vote and Catherine Engelbrecht, its founder, as well as Gregg Phillips, an election denier who often works with the group. Konnech claimed the group had engaged in defamation, theft, and a violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, which made it illegal to access a computer without authorization, among other charges.
The judge in the case granted Konnech’s request for an emergency restraining order, which required True the Vote to reveal who had allegedly gained access to Konnech’s data. True the Vote released the name in a sealed court filing.
“True the Vote is honored to have played a small role in what must have been a wide-ranging and complex investigation,” the group said in a statement. “The organization is deeply appreciative of the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office for their thorough work and swift action on this matter.”