Detroit Contract with Konnech for Ballot Scanning Software
Company with ties to China created fast scanning software for Detroit in 2020
A lot has happened since my previous article which broke down a timeline of Konnech's important business activities. Most significantly, Konnech's CEO, Eugene Yu, was arrested in Michigan on October 4, 2022 in connection with the theft of personal data.1
Konnech posted a 3 page document on their website that has since been removed entitled THE TRUTH ABOUT KONNECH. Here is the archived version. Konnech's "Truth" document was attempting to counter earlier claims made by True the Vote during and following their famed "Pit" conference.
On page 2, Konnech admitted that in 2005 they formed an R&D subsidiary in China named Jinhua Konnech, which they later dissolved in 2021.
China has a National Enterprise Credit Information Publicity System website.2 Searching that website brings up a company named 金华宇联网络科技有限公司, translated to Jinhua Yulian Network Technology Co., Ltd. It was located in Jinhua City, Zhejiang Province, China and the legal representative was 于建伟 (Jianwei Yu). As you can see in the screenshot below, which I’ve Google translated, Jinhua Yulian Network Technology Co., Ltd. was established on November 29, 2005 and dissolved on November 01, 2021. How can we be sure this is the same company as Konnech's admitted R&D subsidiary in China?
Jinhua Yulian Network Technology Co., Ltd. (which I'll abbreviate to Jinhua Yulian for the rest of this article) had a website, yu-lian.cn. The website domain has recently changed hands, but you can see an historical representation via the Internet Archive Wayback Machine here. Awesome thing that Wayback Machine.
The yu-lian.cn website has a .cn domain suffix which indicates it is a Chinese website. Another clue is the text on the yu-lian.cn site is entirely in Chinese. The bottom footer of the home page shows us the same company name 金华宇联网络科技有限公司.
On the Case webpage, Jinhua Yulian goes into great detail about how their business provided "a full range of election management solutions for the City of Detroit Elections Department and provides long-term election consulting services".
Side note: to translate the pages for yourself, open the link using Google Chrome, right click on the page, and select “Translate to English”.
This same page also describes Jinhua Yulian’s involvement in US Overseas Voter Election Management System. "We have developed an online overseas voter election management system for states. The overseas voter election management system integrates powerful online functions such as voter data management, voter ID multi-factor authentication, voter ballot tracking, and statistical report analysis. All overseas voters can access the overseas election management website through the Internet."
It's abundantly clear at this point that 金华宇联网络科技有限公司 (Jinhua Yulian Network Technology Co., Ltd.) was Konnech’s R&D subsidiary in China. According to Konnech in their Truth document, their R&D subsidiary in China was just working on coding, development, and testing software with "dummy" data.
The yu-lian.cn ContactUs page clarifies Jinuha Yulian's business focus:
"Jinhua Yulian Software has been focusing on providing election management software and election consulting services in line with China's national conditions."
Their Business page details the technology they developed for the Chinese business sector, including ballot generation and converting paper ballots for elections "through a matching high-speed scanner".
The technology developed for Government election applications included "voter registration, ballot distribution, voter on-site electronic voting, online online [sic] voting, and electronic ballot counting". Konnech's R&D subsidiary in China was awfully busy.
Konnech alleged they "never provided ballot counting software to any client anywhere in the world. Konnech software is not involved in any way in the collection, processing, tabulation or reporting of votes by any U.S. election authority." In addition to their Chinese subsidiary website showing their involvement in the processing of ballots and tabulation of votes somewhere in the world (China), Konnech also sought "To Provide Ballot Scanning Software for August and November Elections and Software Modules" in Detroit, Michigan in 2020. This is the exact title of Konnech Contract No. 3045877, approved in October 2020 by the City of Detroit for the amount of $186,624.00.8 Finding a copy of this contract that outlines exactly what features Konnech’s supplied hardware and software includes has proved challenging. So instead, I located the October 14, 2020 Detroit City Council Internal Operations Committee Meeting during which the IT Manager for the City of Detroit, Timothy Gaffney, clarifies it for the Council. You can watch it here.
[0:11:36] Timothy Gaffney: So the point of this Konnech contract was for us to actually have the ability to mass scan AV [Absent Voter] Applications. Right now it's a manual process where we have to actually enter them in one by one to get them done. So what we had to do was construct a software where we can scan 2,000 applications in a minute and then download a CSV file and upload it to our Qualified Voter File.
[0:23:18] Timothy Gaffney: Actually, what we would do is actually pull a file from our qualified voter file. We match the voter information with the voter ID number. So from that process, the way we have it, cause they [Konnech] built it for us. The way it's actually developed is, it matches both names, pulls the signature off the application, it matches, it puts signatures side-by-side from the application and also from our Qualified Voter File. So, a human would still be there saying that this person's signature is this person's signature. I [??] that file, and then I upload to our Qualified Voter File. The Qualified Voter File will give us an error report if anything doesn't match [??].
Director Gaffney explained they did not use the software for the August 2020 primary due to disbursement issues with their grant funding. Grant funding, by the way, supplied by the Center for Tech and Civic Life, colloquially known as Zuckerbucks.9 It was unclear to the Council if the software would be utilized for the November 2020 election. They wanted to make sure the technology was fool-proof. As Director Gaffney stated "we try not to introduce anything new that would change the process too close to election" and that "at this time I would prefer to go with the manual hand process [for November 2020]. I would not like to introduce anything this close to the election."
Detroit was expecting over 170,000 AV applications in 2020 that would need to be processed. Again, it is not clear from this Board Meeting if Konnech’s scanning software was utilized for the November 2020 election. Had it been, Konnech would have access to over 170,000 voter's information, including their signatures. As they outlined in the meeting, the software would be comparing signatures to the official voter signature in the Qualified Voter File.
This was a vitally important election, and Detroit City Council Member Roy McCalister Jr. wanted to make sure they were careful in their approach. To quote Member McCalister:
[0:12:57] "The reason why I, and I'm not trying to put anybody on the spot Director Gaffney, it's just the fact that this is a very important election as we all know and you know we don't want to, and I'll just say it, we do not want the current President [Trump] to use any type of source to challenge us and we do not want to be in the national limelight as having something that gave him the reason to either try to challenge, or try to disrupt, or discourage, or play this election down. And that's my concern overall Sir."
These are just more pieces to the large Konnech puzzle that we all need to scrutinize. A company with numerous connections to China, involved with United States' elections, is a matter of national importance.
Note: Google translate has been utilized for translating quotations from Chinese to English in this article.
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Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office October 4, 2022: Head of Election Worker Management Company Arrested in Connection with Theft of Personal Data https://da.lacounty.gov/media/news/head-election-worker-management-company-arrested-connection-theft-personal-data
pgs. 618 and 730 of 2796 (printed) https://web.archive.org/web/20170124191150/https://detroitmi.gov/Portals/0/docs/City%20Clerk/2009%20Council.pdf
1/9/2017 Detroit-Konnech #2790154 Change Order 5
1/27/2020 Detroit-Konnech #3040940
10/6/2020 Detroit-Konnech #3045877
3/16/2021 Detroit-Konnech #6003434
Detroit-Konnech Contract No. 3045877 To Provide Ballot Scanning Software for August and November Elections and Software Modules. https://web.archive.org/web/20220923000300/https://detroitmi.gov/sites/detroitmi.localhost/files/contracts/3045/PO_3045877.pdf