Konnech Inc., an American election technology company founded in 2002 based in Okemos outside of East Lansing, Michigan, previously built ChineseBrief.com, a ‘unique interactive communication platform and Chinese language learning tool’ for the Confucius Institute, according to the company’s Facebook page and an archived Michigan State University’s Confucius Institute webpage.
According to Konnech’s website, the company’s ‘PollChief’ software products, which include the ‘Election Worker Management System’, ‘Asset Management System’, and ‘HelpDesk’ are used by “thousands of Election Offices across North America”.
Konnech’s software helps manage the poll workers, polling locations, campaigns, assets, mail-in ballots, and supplies necessary to run elections in the U.S., Canada, and Australia.
In December 2006, the company posted on their Facebook page, “… Confucius Institute at Michigan State University has reached an agreement with Konnech, Inc. to build ChineseBrief.com—a unique interactive communication platform and Chinese language learning tool.”
In February 2007, an archived webpage of the Michigan State University’s Confucius Institute announced, “The Confucius Institute recently signed an agreement with the Okemos, MI based company Konnech to offer daily 3-5 minute Mandarin lessons delivered to your phone. The phonecasts are sent based on a schedule setup by the user with an on-line interface. The service will be initially free for a limited time. Registration for the service will be available soon.”
A May 19, 2020, article published at InQueensland explained that the Queensland Department of Housing and Public Works conceded it had been a “difficult few years” after the “failure of the election reporting system” — starting with the former commissioner’s “decision to acquire the Konnech system”.
The Queensland digital news company stated, “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”.
Queensland Chief Digital Officer Chris Fechner said: “The delivery of the project was further impacted in the final development and bug fixing stages during January and February 2020, as most of the coding resources were based in Wuhan China and were negatively impacted by the COVID-19 lock-down”.
On July 15, 2020 according to records of the proceedings in Queensland Parliament, MP Fiona Simpson asked the Queensland Premier why, “foreign owned company Konnech was given an important contract to produce the software to administer Queensland’s elections using China based coders over every Queensland coding firm?”
At least three other Members of Parliament — Mr. Lister, Mr. Crandon, and Dr. Robinson — asked similar questions about Konnech, according to Queensland Parliament records.