QAnon influencers and right-wing media figures are misconstruing the details of the October 4 arrest of Konnech CEO Eugene Yu to prop up baseless claims of election fraud in the U.S., despite the accusations against Yu having no impact on election results.
Konnech CEO arrested for allegations unrelated to vote tabulation or election results
Eugene Yu — founder and CEO of Michigan-based software company Konnech — was arrested by Los Angeles County officials “on suspicion of theft of personal identifying information” about poll workers, allegedly storing the information in a server outside the United States. Konnech held a $2.9 million contract with LA County to help with poll logistics, including tracking worker schedules and payroll — a role that is not related to vote tabulation or election results.
Notably, Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón made clear that the allegations against Yu have no relation to official election results: “This investigation is concerned solely with the personal identifying information of election workers. In this case, the alleged conduct had no impact on the tabulation of votes and did not alter election results.”
Konnech has been the target of baseless election fraud claims
QAnon influencers helped True the Vote — a right-wing organization known for pushing false claims of widespread voter fraud — to target Konnech with baseless election fraud conspiracy theories for months. According to a lawsuit filed by Konnech last month, the election fraud conspiracy theories pushed by True the Vote and others resulted in death threats against Yu, forcing his family to flee their home.
On the day of Yu’s arrest, True The Vote claimed without evidence “to have played a small role” in the district attorney’s investigation. However, according to HuffPost reporter Matt Shuham, the district attorney’s office said it “conducted an independent investigation without any cooperation with True the Vote.”
What’s more, QAnon-supporting figures also misconstrued Yu’s arrest, taking credit, claiming more arrests are coming, and using it to bolster their false claims that the 2020 presidential election was fraudulent and that China “had gained near complete control of America’s elections.” Right-wing media figures have also amplified the arrest, using it to bolster election fraud claims and mock mainstream media.
QAnon supporters claimed that this arrest is only the beginning
QAnon supporters jumped on Yu’s arrest as a signifier that more arrests of the “deep state” were finally coming. Many users noted other arrests or events that occurred around the same time and speculated that these coincidences were significant. Some claimed that the timing of Yu's arrest and Elon Musk’s renewed interest in purchasing Twitter meant he was “cleaning Twitter for anons to flood it with truth.”
- QAnon influencer Patel Patriot posted on Telegram claiming that the arrest of Yu is just the beginning and that “something bigger is going on.” He wrote: “This triggers all sorts of issues for Election systems contracts, in many counties around America. Watch and see which counties are exposed for doing sole source contracts with a Chinese contractor, and which ones have their oversight of such systems challenged as a result. Something bigger is going on. ‘Lawfare’ This is a domino. Stay tuned.” [Telegram, 10/4/22]
- QAnon influencer Absolute1776 posted on Telegram that Yu’s arrest was a sign that “the deep state has had a really bad afternoon.” They wrote: “Eugene Yu gets a ride to the slammer. But nothing is happening, right? *yawn* Enjoy the show.” [Telegram, 10/5/22]
- Samantha Alderson wrote to nearly 20,000 Telegram subscribers that Yu’s arrest coinciding with other events is not a coincidence and referenced a message from Q., asking readers if they are “ready to see arrests?” They wrote: “Supreme Court started the new term of voting this week - election cases are at the forefront. Yesterday CEO Eugene Yu of the CCP Konnech software/Election Management system gets arrested on the same day as Delta 2344 which mentions - Are you ready to see arrests? … The same day Elon Musk buys Twitter, Bots are being removed. … Elon cleaning Twitter for anons to flood it with truth.” [Telegram, 10/5/22]
- QAnon influencer Red Pill Pharmacist also noted that the timing of Yu’s arrest was “on the heels of Elon’s news” about buying Twitter and claimed that “deepstate players” are “about to lose [their] last hope of censorship in a major way.” [Telegram, 10/5/22]
QAnon supporters and election deniers celebrated and claimed credit for Yu’s arrest
On Twitter and the alternative social media platform Telegram, QAnon supporters and election deniers, such as Dinesh D’Souza, were quick to celebrate Yu’s arrest, even claiming that they helped “bring down” Yu. As they celebrated, they also bolstered their baseless conspiracy theory that Konnech is involved in an election fraud conspiracy.
- On Telegram, QAnon promoter Jordan Sather posted about True the Vote and the event it held about Konnech and election fraud. He posted, “This is the Eugene Yu from Konnech Inc. that was named at True the Vote’s Pit event two months ago,” and that this was “the same Eugene Yu and Konnech who sued Gregg and Catherine.” [Telegram, 10/4/22, 10/4/22]
- Users on Telegram praised True the Vote and QAnon influencer Kanekoa the Great, with one user saying that they did “GREAT WORK” to “spotlight and expose Eugene Yu.” They wrote: “It seems odd something like this is coming from an individual as corrupt as the person being investigated. [Telegram, 10/5/22, 10/5/22]
- On Telegram, QAnon influencer CognitiveCarbon posted that True the Vote was “over the target” and that their work along with the help of “citizen researchers” led to Yu’s arrest. [Telegram, 10/4/22]
- QAnon influencer Brian Cates posted to Telegram directly crediting The Pit and several of the QAnon influencers in attendance as having “helped bring down Eugene Yu.” He called True the Vote’s Gregg Phillips and Catherine Engelbrecht “American hero patriots” and praised them, along with other QAnon supporters, for their work. [Telegram, 10/4/22, 10/5/22]
- Responding to a user criticizing the accuracy of his debunked film 2000 Mules, right-wing commentator Dinesh D’Souza tweeted, “You keep regurgitating the same discredited nonsense. Meanwhile you are silent about THIS. Konnech was busted by True the Vote.” D’Souza also claimed Yu’s arrest corroborates True the Vote’s “claims.” [Twitter, 10/5/22, 10/4/22]
Prominent right-wing media and QAnon figures twisted the details of Yu’s arrest, falsely calling it proof of election fraud
In addition to saying that the arrest proves their claims about Konnech, QAnon figures and some right-wing figures have used the arrest to push general claims of election fraud across mainstream and alternative social media platforms.
- QAnon influencer Brian Cates posted on Telegram claiming that every U.S. county using “dirty CCP Konnech software” must stop doing so before the 2022 midterm elections and urging his audience that “patriots need to make this happen.” He wrote: “Now that he's been arrested and will go on trial for what he did … This means NOT using Konnoch's EMS software for these 2022 midterms.” [Telegram, 10/4/22]
- QAnon influencer Patel Patriot also claimed on Telegram that Yu’s arrest “is a big deal,” and promoted an article on his own substack about The Pit. [Telegram, 10/4/22]
- Following Yu’s arrest, Mollie Hemingway (Fox News contributor and senior editor at The Federalist) tweeted, “Could adults stop using the Democrat propaganda term ‘election denial’ to describe people with legitimate challenges to election administration?” [Twitter, 10/5/22]
- Users on the fringe platform Communities amplified election deniers that have called on election officials to stop using Konnech software. One user highlighted that election denier William Quinn has been pushing for Forsyth County, Georgia, to stop using Konnech and release any correspondence with the company. [Communities, 10/4/22, 10/5/22]
Right-wing media called NYT’s coverage of Konnech a “pie in the face moment”
Right-wing outlets also reacted to news of Yu's arrest by mocking an October 3 article by New York Times disinformation reporter Stuart Thompson, which quoted Yu as part of detailing how True the Vote spread election-related conspiracy theories about Konnech. Thompson published a subsequent article on Yu’s arrest the following day, and right-wing outlets and figures (including a QAnon influencer) were quick to use it to attack his original article that called True the Vote “election deniers” and “conspiracy theorists.”
- The Federalist called Thompson’s October 3 and October 4 stories about Konnech “a pie in the face moment.” The article, which refers to the Times as a “regime-approved” newspaper, is titled “NYT Pretends To Debunk Poll Worker ‘Conspiracy.’ One Day Later, The ‘Election Deniers’ Were Vindicated.” [The Federalist, 10/5/22]
- The Blaze published an article titled “‘Conspiracy theory' criticized by NY Times confirmed one day later: CEO of election-software company arrested for allegedly giving poll worker data to communist Chinese government.” The article claims Thompson “tarred” True the Vote as “far-right election deniers” and “conspiracy theorists,” and quotes the group’s statement attacking the media. [The Blaze, 10/5/22]
- Breitbart attacked The New York Times for attempting “to downplay suspicions around the election software company Konnech.” The article claims Thompson “derided” “election deniers” for claiming Yu sent American poll worker data to China and alleges that Yu’s arrest proves them right. [Breitbart, 10/5/22]
- The Post Millennial ran an article on Yu’s arrest that largely focused on The New York Times’ coverage of True the Vote and its role in spreading conspiracy theories about Konnech. The Post Millennial's article also suggests True the Vote's claims were now confirmed. [The Post Millennial, 10/4/22]
- On Telegram, QAnon promoter Jordan Sather posted that the Times ran a “cover piece” on Yu before his arrest, adding, “Nice try New York Times.” [Telegram, 10/4/22]