Challenging party wins despite 'dirty tricks' from D.C. Republicans and one creepy e-voting company...
By Brad Friedman on 3/16/2009, 10:42pm PT  

Firedoglake's Jane Hamsher dropped me a note over the weekend to inquire if I'd heard anything about a company called Universal Identification Solutions (UIS) who was to be announcing the results of El Salvador's presidential elections over the weekend. A bunch of election observers down there had been "suddenly" informed that the company would be responsible for election night reporting, yet nobody had heard of them, and their website was "really sketchy and vague" at best, as Jane noted.

"Sketchy and vague" is right...

Based on their creepy James Bond villain-styled website, the company, which I'd never heard of, appears to use some kind of e-voting technology from a best guess --- though that's unclear --- with an emphasis on "identification". My favorite line from their creepy front-page introductory video (which takes forever to load for some reason): "Let us know what results you are waiting for, and we'll do the work together".

Seriously, go take a look at that scary 30-second-or-so promotional video. Make sure your sound is turned up as it's loading.

Sunday's election was of particular interest in this country, as a bunch of Republican U.S. Congress members had made news in El Salvador's government-controlled papers, by sending a letter to the Obama Administration meant to back the Rightwing incumbents who have held power there for two decades. Statements, described by Huffington Post's Robert Naiman as "dirty tricks in Washington and El Salvador", made on the floor of the U.S. House by Congressmen Trent Franks (R-AZ) and Dan Burton (R-IN) at the end of the week, charged that if the opposition FMLN party wins the election, the U.S. "would be required to reevaluate our policy toward El Salvador, including cash remittance and immigration policies to compensate for the fact there will no longer be a reliable counterpart in the Salvadoran government." The comments, Naiman notes, were allegedly timed to hit weekend papers after the campaign period had ended, so the FMLN party would be unable to respond.

The creepy UIS website goes on to instruct, on one of their unlinkable pages, that they "provide technology-based services and products for identification and elections, the very basis of a democratic government."

Of course, I'm unaware of "identification" being a cornerstone of any actual democratic principles, though Republicans from Arizona and Indiana, two of the most regressive states in the union when it comes to disenfranchisment at the polling place through the use of restrictive ID policies, may feel differently about that.

One other clue from the mysterious UIS website is their claim to "recent successes" in U.S. Elections through the "Use of EID as Look-Up Device and complete Electronic Poll Book."

Neither I, nor VotersUnite.org's John Gideon had ever heard of this company, or their product in use in an election here. So if anyone reading this happens to have heard of them or their product being used somewhere here, we'd welcome the tip.

In any case, the "good" news is that the announced results were, in fact, in line with the pre-election and exit polling, and the ruling party has been voted out --- according to those announced results --- in favor of FMLN. So, for now anyway, another "faith-based" e-voting nightmare and/or accompanying revolt has been avoided, Fox "News" has been able to clumsily slime the new ruling party as expected, and all is "well" in the world, for another e-day...