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This is the first comprehensive study of the distribution of voting rights to shareholders. Only those owning stock on the record date may vote. Managers, however, typically reveal that date after the fact. With controversial votes, managers are more likely to do the opposite, and this is associated with a lower passage rate for shareholder-initiated proposals. The NYSE sells record-date information before the fact to select investors. When stocks go ex vote, prices decline which suggests that investors are buying marginal votes. With controversial votes, prices decline by over 50 basis points and trading volume surges immediately thereafter.

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