MARTINEZ, Calif. - Contra Costa County elections officials are receiving threats and harassing messages, amid a scandal involving a software company that stores poll workers’ information.
Konnech Corporation, a Michigan company that makes the software for scheduling poll workers is accused of illegally providing and storing personal identifiable information on servers in China.
The company’s CEO, Eugene Yu, was arrested and charged by Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon this week. He said he is investigating possible theft of poll workers private data.
"Clearly this has nothing to do with the election process, election material or voters’ information," Gascon said.
Separate from the ballot scanning and vote tabulation, the program database called PollChief is used by several California counties.
Contra Costa County uses it only to manage poll worker assignments, communications, and tracking of voting equipment supplies.
Assistant Registrar Helen Nolan said name, address and date of birth are gathered using the software to verify the poll worker is a registered voter within the county.
"Their data is safe and secure with us," she said. "We have found no evidence that our data has been breached."
But that still hasn’t stopped misinformation from spreading. In some cases, names and contact information of elections employees has been shared on social media sites.
Elections employees have received threats including one that read "resign now" and "Get ready for hell to break loose in Martinez!"
"Kind of makes you feel like you have to be guarded or just be looking over your shoulder every time you step out of the office," an employee fearful to provide his name said. "You don’t know who’s around."
Nolan said the county has worked to be honest, open and transparent beginning with an email sent to poll workers reassuring them about the PollChief software and the safety of their information.
Longtime poll workers expressed confidence, especially knowing the software is entirely separate from the voting system.
"I haven’t felt personally any kind of threat from this," Glenna Phillips said. "Processes are in place to keep it safe and secure and legal."
As mail-in ballots begin to come into the county election’s offices, officials said they are confident the safeguards and systems in place insure safety, accuracy and fairness.
"We’re doing the best job we can do. We’re focused on the November 8th election," Nolan said. "We’re moving forward and we’re not going to allow the harassment or intimidation to deter us from continuing to do the best job that we can for our voters."