When shareholders vested with voting rights cast a vote on a firm's corporate policies (example), can the firm see which shareholders voted and which vote they cast, or is the vote anonymous? I am mostly interested in the United States.

  • I believe anonymous unless you are the one who made the motion. ("Charles Jefferies, holder of 1024 shares, intends to bring the following motion before the board... ") or someone calls for a recount. Having the shares held in street name would provide another layer of isolation. But realistically, I consider this a "who cares" item; it isn't worth the company's effort to remember who voted for or against what, and they can't easily single you out for either reward or retribution.
    – keshlam
    Commented Jun 9 at 6:19

1 Answer 1


The corporation needs to know who you are in order to properly count your vote. It needs that to know how many votes you actually have.

For most retail shareholders however, it's not them who are listed as the owner of the shares (from the corporation perspective), it's their broker (street name). So retail investors tell the broker how they want to vote through proxy statements, and the broker delivers all the votes for their shares based on these retail votes.

Wether the ballots must be secret beyond allocation of the voting power is up to the corporation by-laws.

  • 1
    The tabulator must know, but that doesn't have to be the corporation (i.e. issuer). In US every stock I hold (admittedly not a huge number) outsources tabulation to www.proxyvote.com and the 14As I've read always say something like 'specific votes will not be disclosed unless legally required' (and I have never heard of any legal requirement). However given Musk's well-demonstrated disregard for law or ethics I wouldn't assume he follows any pattern. Commented Jun 9 at 7:35

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