This excerpt taken from the PBI DEF 14A filed Apr 3, 2007.
Proposal 4: Approval of Amendment to By-laws of Pitney Bowes Inc. to Require Majority Vote to Elect Directors in an Uncontested Election
The board of directors recommends that the companys By-laws be amended to change the voting standard for the election of directors in an uncontested election from a plurality to a majority vote. The board believes that the change to a majority vote standard will appropriately give stockholders a greater voice in the election of directors of the company.
Under the plurality standard, director candidates with the most votes cast for them are elected, even if each receives less than a majority. Under the proposed majority standard, in order to be elected in an uncontested election, a director must receive the affirmative vote of a majority of the votes cast in person or by proxy at the annual meeting. Under Delaware law, an incumbent director who fails to receive the required vote holds over, or continues to serve as a director until his or her successor is elected and qualified. Consequently, the proposed By-law amendment also contemplates that if an incumbent director is not re-elected, the director must tender his or her resignation to the board. The Governance Committee of the board would then make a recommendation to the board on whether to accept or reject the resignation. Under the proposed By-law amendment, the board must act on the Governance Committees recommendation and publicly disclose its decision within 90 days from the date of the certification of election results. In a contested election (where the number of nominees exceeds the number of directors to be elected), the plurality standard would continue to apply and the nominees receiving the most votes would be elected.
Section 7 of the companys By-laws reflecting the proposed changes is included in this proxy statement as Annex II. The affirmative vote of at least 80% of the votes represented by all outstanding shares entitled to be cast at the meeting will be required for approval of the proposed By-law amendment. Abstentions will have the same effect as votes against the proposal. If the proposed By-law amendment is approved by the stockholders, the board will restate the companys By-laws to reflect the amendment.