What’s proxy voting?

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Proxy voting allows someone to vote on behalf of another person, commonly used in lawmaking, elections, and corporate shareholder meetings. It is allowed in some countries for elections but prohibited in the US. Shareholders who cannot attend a meeting can submit proxies through paper or online ballots.

Proxy voting is a process that allows one person to authorize someone else to vote on their behalf. It is most commonly used by lawmakers in lawmaking, elections, and corporate shareholder meetings. This type of voting is recognized by a number of popular order rules, including Riddick’s Rules of Parliamentary Procedure, but is prohibited by others, such as the Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure. Such rules are normally adopted by an organization at its inception.

In elected government, proxy voting is often used in the committee process to allow lawmakers to vote on bills and resolutions in absentia. While the specific rules often vary between governments and committees, typically, a legislator who expects to lose a committee vote must submit their proxy vote to the chairman or committee staff, in writing, before the vote takes place . A proxy vote does not count towards a committee’s quorum, so there must be enough members present to establish a quorum before those votes on a particular question can be counted.

A number of countries around the world allow proxy voting in elections. It is commonly used by active duty soldiers and other citizens who know they will not be present at election time to vote in person. Detractors argue, however, that it is also exploited as a way for males to vote for female relatives, and otherwise increases the likelihood of voter fraud. While various jurisdictions in the United States have historically allowed it, it is currently prohibited by federal law. A similar but fundamentally different procedure called postal voting is permitted.

In the corporate world, shareholders have a say in how a company is run. Votes are typically taken on various matters at an annual meeting of shareholders, and matters can range from electing board members to allocating funds for non-commercial charities. Typically, shareholders get one vote per share, although some special shares, such as preferred stock, are worth more than one vote.

Many people own shares in a company based on, literally, the other side of the world. Therefore, it may be impossible to actually attend a shareholder meeting. This is especially true with those who own only a small number of shares in a company and whose investment therefore does not guarantee travel expenses.

Shareholders who are unable to attend a voting meeting in person may, therefore, submit proxies for their shares. This is usually done by submitting paper ballots in advance or, increasingly, by voting online. Agendas and voting forms are typically mailed to shareholders weeks before the meeting, with instructions on how to attend. Shareholders who have not voted in person or by proxy are considered abstentions.

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