Made in China? A closer look at U.S. election software’s coders and patents

by WorldTribune Staff, August 25, 2022

An examination of a Michigan election company’s coders and patents has revealed “an alarming Chinese connection,” a report said.

East Lansing-based Konnech Inc., which helps manage poll workers, poll locations, campaigns, assets, mail-in ballots, and supplies for elections in the U.S., Canada, and Australia, “has been recruiting Chinese software engineers since at least December 7, 2005,” the Kanekoa Newsletter on substack.com reported on Aug. 20.

Many of Konnech’s software engineers graduated from Chinese universities such as Zhejiang University, Nanjing University, University of Science and Technology of China, Beijing Language and Culture University, China Agricultural University, and HuaZhong University of Science and Technology, the report noted.

The Kanekoa Newsletter previously reported that Konnech, creator of the “PollChief” software used by “thousands of Election Offices across North America” built ChineseBrief.com for the Confucius Institute.

Related: China’s Confucius Institutes, shuttered in Trump era, resurface with new names, June 26, 2022

Amid the Covid pandemic, in Queensland, Australia’s 2020 elections, “count reporting problems on election night” were partly the result of “a new computer system not being tested as planned because ‘coding resources’ were locked down in Wuhan,” according to the digital news company InQueensland.

The Wuhan coding resources led to four members of the Queensland Parliament to ask the Queensland Premier on July 15, 2020, why Konnech was given the contract to produce the software administering Queensland’s elections using “China based coders”?

One member of parliament asked: “Can the Premier guarantee that Konnech, Inc. does not have a connection to the Chinese Communist Party through its China based subsidiary Jinhua Konnech Inc.?”

The Kanekoa Newsletter cites a Chinese document entitled “International Elite Entrepreneurship” which states the mission of Yu Jianwei’s Konnech Inc. was to become “one of the top 50 e-commerce service providers for schools and government in the United States within 10 years.”

“The company will enter a phase of rapid development after the implementation of the venture fund in Wuzhong. In terms of specialized technology, we have been developing and hiring technical personnel with expertise in the field in a rapid manner by utilizing the role of corporate and university professors and graduate classes for project development, with the aim of receiving advanced applied technology,” the document states. “We must take the corresponding path and cooperate with American universities and Zhejiang University and other domestic institutions to focus on the development of applied technologies and the application-oriented development of specialized technologies.”

The document describes the problems facing the U.S. market citing “expensive software programming fees and talent shortages” as well as reduced “funding for IT projects” before closing with, “In this environment, the role of our China branch is fully demonstrated.”

As recently as June 28 of this year, the Kanekoa report notes, a user named “Konnech_Shawn” posted on a software development recruitment site which brings Chinese engineers to the United States that Michigan’s Konnech Inc. was looking for engineers, business analyst, and product designers. The post says to contact, “[email protected]”.

The report also discovered that the domain registrant for konnech.cn was “none other than Jinhua Yulian Network Technology Co. and the domain is linked to the email address [email protected]”.

The report continues: “Unbelievably, as recently as last Tuesday, the website for Hongzheng Technology Co., the software company which builds technology for China’s National People’s Congress, was still registered to the email address ‘[email protected]’. Only yesterday [Aug. 19], the registrar’s email address was changed to ‘[email protected]’ ”.


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