All Data Will Now be Housed on DeKalb County-controlled Server
Following a special-called meeting on October 10, the DeKalb BRE took additional measures to secure poll worker data in connection with Konnech Inc. PollChief. The emergency meeting had been convened following the arrest of Eugene Yu, the CEO of Konnech by the Los Angeles County District Attorney and allegations that L.A. County poll workers’ data had been stored on a server in China, in violation of their contract with Konnech.
In order to ensure the security of DeKalb County poll workers’ data, the DeKalb BRE voted 3-2 to amend its licensing, maintenance, and support agreement with Konnech. An initial vote to terminate the contract with Konnech outright failed 2-3. The result of the vote is that the Board will pursue amendment of the contract to ensure that all data will be maintained in a DeKalb County-controlled Microsoft Azure Government tenant rather than on Konnech servers. Additional security measures will include geofencing barriers preventing data ingress and egress as well as 24/7 monitored access control and logging. This means that the data used in the PollChief system may not be surreptitiously accessed, removed, or manipulated.
“Our foremost concern is that poll workers have peace of mind knowing that their private data will be safeguarded on a secure government server. Our poll workers are essential partners in running an election, and VRE team members will continue to streamline our administrative processes to ensure they are paid timely and receive the training and communication they need to fulfill their duties,” said VRE Executive Director Keisha Smith.
During the special-called meeting, Smith and various board members reiterated that the Konnech PollChief system is purely an administrative tool that does not house any voter information and has no connection to or impact on the outcome of the election. Additionally, there will be no integrations or access allowed between PollChief and other DeKalb County systems.
According to Dele Lowman Smith, DeKalb BRE Chair, “The Board’s action today is intended to eliminate potential concerns about the security of our poll workers’ data while ensuring the department can maintain its focus on election preparations. There remain many unanswered questions surrounding the allegations against Mr. Yu, and a majority of the Board favored a deliberate, surgical response based on the facts available to us. We continue to monitor developments in this matter and are prepared to take further action if warranted.”
DeKalb VRE will employ 1,700-1,800 poll workers for the General Election. Advance voting begins on October 17, and Election Day is November 8.