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Abstaining versus not voting
Old 05-05-2015, 08:34 AM   #1
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Abstaining versus not voting

I have always wondered this in relation to voting at annual meetings for stocks that I own.

What is the difference between checking "abstain" for a certain item versus not checking any box? To me, the difference is that by checking "abstain", it is a vote and if there is a policy that a certain percentage of shares need to be voted, then mine are accounted for. But either way, the chance of the proposal passing is the same whether I abstain or don't vote. Is that correct? Any other differences?

And just out of curiosity, has anyone ever attended the annual meeting for a stock they own? (I'm talking mostly about attending as a stock-owner not an employee or manager). I have no interest in doing this but wondered if anyone else has.

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Old 05-05-2015, 09:08 AM   #2
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I wrote a lot of code for a proxy tabulation system years ago. As I recall you are 100% correct. I think they were accumulated separately and were combined at the end, so they act the same. Disclaimer I'm going totally from memory

Edit to add: The system did keep the summaries of yes/no/abstain/never voted and report that summary. How it was used in respect to your first question I'm not 100% sure on. But they data would support that decesion.

I've never attended but had friends that have. Gal said it was pretty interesting.


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Old 05-05-2015, 12:03 PM   #3
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My impression is that for the average investor, voting or abstaining doesn't matter much. You might have several thousand shares of a company but you're voting against a consortium who collectively owns millions of shares. They all know each other and tend to stick together.

I have been to several stock holder meetings, mostly as a senior exec of the company holding the event. In most cases, pretty boring stuff with canned presentations and mostly softball questions. A good luncheon and drinks with a nice view afterwards however!
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