Legal English “Peter’s Pills”: Voting at a meeting

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Today we look at the two main methods for collecting votes at company meetings, namely, a show of hands and a poll, as well as some associated words.

Vote by Show of Hands Poll Vote
Method Members raise hands Cast secret electronic votes or paper ballots
Anonymity Not anonymous Anonymous
Pressure to Conform Members may feel pressure to conform to the consensus Members are free to express their true opinion
Accuracy Results may not be accurate if some members are hesitant to oppose the majority Results are more accurate as they reflect the honest opinion of members
Weight One member, one vote One share, one vote
Nuance Limited to simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ vote Allows for more nuanced
decisions through ranking or rating systems
Speed Quick decision-making process Longer time required due to the need for collecting and counting paper ballots or electronic polls
Circumstance Suitable for simple decisions Ideal for complex or important decisions
Legality Legally permissible for all types of resolutions Mandatory for certain types of resolutions, such as special resolutions or resolutions requiring a poll vote

Key vocabulary:

raise: alzare;
cast a vote: esprimere un voto;
electronic votes: quesiti elettronici;
paper ballots: schede di carta;
one share, one vote: un’azione, un voto (oppure, un voto per ogni percentuale di quota);
nuanced decisions: decisioni più sfumate;
ranking or rating systems: sistemi di classificazione o valutazione;
suitable: adatto;
mandatory: obbligatorio.

Thank you, and see you next time for more Peter’s Pills to improve your legal English.

Read more about voting on resolutions at company meetings in the UK here: “Companies Act 2006: General provisions about resolutions“.