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US voting results – directors bear the brunt

Preliminary data from the 2009 proxy season compiled by Manifest’s US partner, PROXY Governance, show that the number and percentage of votes withheld for director nominees continue to increase — with the percentage of director nominees who had at least 30 percent of shareholder votes withheld doubling in 2009 to 5 % of nominees from 2.5 % of nominees in 2008.  Overall, the average support level for director nominees in uncontested elections through Aug. 31 fell to 92.8 % in 2009, down from 94.7 % in 2008 and 95.1 % in 2007.  Vote withhold percentages for firms in the Russell 3000 index are shown below:

Year

Average
Support for
Directors

=>
10 % of votes
withheld

=>
20 % of votes
withheld

= >
30 % of votes
withheld

2007

95.1 %

13.1 %

4.8 %

2.2 %

2008

94.7 %

14.5 %

5.5 %

2.5 %

2009*

92.8 %

20.3 %

9.8 %

5.0 %

* preliminary data through Aug. 31, 2009

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