Election Software Executive Arrested on Suspicion of Theft

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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 Mr. Yu, who lives in Michigan, to Los Angeles.

Konnech came under scrutiny this year by several election deniers, including a founder of True the Vote, a nonprofit that says it is devoted to uncovering election fraud. True the Vote said its team had downloaded personal information on 1.8 million American poll workers from a server owned by Konnech and hosted in China. It said it obtained the data by using the server’s default password, which it said was “password,” according to online accounts from people who attended a conference about voter fraud where the claims were made. The group provided no evidence that it had downloaded the data, saying that 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 America’s election system.

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Claims about Konnech reached Dekalb County in Georgia, which was close to signing a contract with the company. The county’s Republican Party chairwoman, Marci McCarthy, raised concerns during a public comment period at the county’s elections board meeting on Sept. 8, questioning where the company stored and secured its data.

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Konnech rebutted the claims, telling The New York Times that it had records on fewer than 240,000 workers at the time and that it had detected no data breach. Konnech owned a subsidiary in China that developed and tested software. The company said programmers there 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 disclose 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 profoundly grateful to the Los Angeles district attorney’s office for their thorough work and rapid action in this matter.”

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