This excerpt taken from the GMCR DEF 14A filed Jan 26, 2009.
What happens if you dont give specific voting instructions?
If you are a stockholder of record and sign and return your proxy card or vote electronically without making any specific selections then your shares will be voted in accordance with the recommendations of the Board of Directors on all matters presented in this proxy statement and as the proxy holders may determine in their discretion regarding any other matters properly presented for a vote at the meeting.
If you are a beneficial owner and hold your shares in street name and do not provide the organization that holds your shares with voting instructions, the broker or other nominee will determine if it has the discretionary authority to vote on the particular matter. Under applicable rules, brokers have the discretion to vote on routine matters but cannot vote on non-routine matters. We believe that both Proposal 1Election of Directors and Proposal 2Ratification of Accountants will be considered routine matters. If the organization that holds your shares does not receive instructions from you on how to vote your shares on a non-routine matter, the organization that holds your shares will inform us that it does not have the authority to vote on this matter with respect to your shares. This is generally referred to as a broker non-vote. Broker non-votes will be considered as represented for purposes of determining a quorum, but will not otherwise affect voting results.
How are abstentions treated? Abstentions are counted for purposes of determining whether a quorum is present, but will not be included in vote totals and will not affect the outcome of the vote on any proposal.