What does proxy vote Mean?
You own a fractional share of the company, maybe you should care enough to at least read the proxy statements which explain the pro and con position for each of the issues you are voting on. That doesn't seem like too much to ask.
On the other hand, if you are saying that the people who get paid to be knowledgeable about that stuff should just go make the decisions without troubling you with the details, then choose the option to go with their recommendations, which are always clearly indicated on the voting form. However, if you do this, it might make sense to at least do some investigation of who you are voting onto that board.
I guess, as mpenrow said, you could just abstain, but I'm not sure how that is any different than just trashing the form.
As for the idea that proxy votes are tainted somehow, the one missing piece of that conspiracy is what those people have to gain. Are you implying that your broker who has an interest in you making money off your investments and liking them would fraudulently cast proxy votes for you in a way that would harm the company and your return? Why exactly would they do this?
I find your stance on the whole thing a bit confusing though. You seem to have some strong opinions on corporate Governance, but at the same time aren't willing to invest any effort in the one place you have any control over the situation. I'm just sayin.
What do "for, " "against, " "abstain"and "withhold" mean on the proxy card or voter instruction form?
Depending on what you are voting on, the proxy card or voting instruction form gives you a choice of voting "for, " "against, " or "abstain, " or "for" or "withhold." Here is an explanation of the differences:
Election of directors: Generally, company bylaws or other corporate documents establish how directors are elected. There are two main types of ways to elect directors: plurality vote and majority vote.
A "plurality vote" means that the winning candidate only needs to get more votes than a competing candidate. If a director runs unopposed, he or she only needs one vote to be elected, so an "against" vote is meaningless. Because of this, shareholders have the option to express dissatisfaction with a candidate by indicating that they wish to "withhold" authority to vote their shares in favor of the candidate. A substantial number of "withhold" votes will not prevent a candidate from getting elected, but it can sometimes influence future decisions by the board of directors concerning director nominees.
A "majority vote" means that directors are elected only if they receive a majority of the shares voting or present at the meeting. In this case, you have the choice of voting "for" each nominee, "against" each nominee, or you can "abstain" from voting your shares. An "abstain" vote may or may not affect a director's election.