This excerpt taken from the AAPL DEF 14A filed Jan 23, 2008.
Votes Required; Abstentions; Broker Non-Votes
For Proposal No. 1, the eight nominees receiving the highest number of affirmative votes of the outstanding shares of the Companys common stock present or represented by proxy and voting at the Annual Meeting will be elected as directors to serve until the next annual meeting of shareholders and until their successors are duly elected and qualified. Abstentions will have no effect on the outcome of the election of candidates for director. Additionally, the election of directors is a matter on which a broker or other nominee is generally empowered to vote, and therefore no broker non-votes are expected to exist in connection with Proposal No. 1.
Approval of Proposals No. 2, No. 3 and No. 4 require a vote that satisfies two criteria: (i) the affirmative vote must constitute a majority of the voting power present or represented by proxy and voting at the Annual Meeting and (ii) the affirmative vote must constitute a majority of the voting power required to constitute the quorum. For purposes of these proposals, abstentions and broker non-votes will not affect the outcome under clause (i), which recognizes only actual votes cast for or against the proposal. However, abstentions and broker non-votes may affect the outcome under clause (ii) because abstentions and broker non-votes are counted for purposes of determining the quorum and have the effect of a vote against the proposal.
The ratification of the appointment of the independent registered public accounting firm for the 2008 fiscal year is a matter on which a broker or other nominee is generally empowered to vote. Accordingly, no broker non-votes are expected to exist in connection with Proposal No. 2. In contrast, since shareholder proposals are not matters on which brokers are empowered to vote without instructions, there may be broker non-votes on Proposals No. 3 and No. 4.