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Matt Levine

P&G Could Use the Blockchain in Its Next Proxy Fight

Trying to count 2 billion ballots was never going to be easy.
Paper ballot problems.

Paper ballot problems.

Photographer: CNBC

Look, to be fair, in the 2000 U.S. presidential election, 105,421,423 votes were cast, roughly 6 million of them in Florida, and it took a month, a Supreme Court case, and a still-sensitive controversy to conclusively declare a winner. Procter & Gamble Co.'s shareholder vote last month to elect new directors, in which activist investor Nelson Peltz of Trian Fund Management ran a proxy fight to try to win a board seat, had about 20 times as many votes to count. So it's not surprising that the vote-counters are having a hard time:

Last month P&G had said that Peltz had lost by about 6.2 million votes, which is two orders of magnitude bigger than his (apparent) actual winning margin (and bigger than the entire 2000 U.S. presidential vote in Florida), but still pretty small for P&G: only 0.31 percent of the votes cast (and 0.24 percent of the shares outstanding). "P&G will disclose the final results after receiving the Independent Inspector of Elections’ final certified report, which we expect in the weeks ahead," it announced yesterday, and I suppose things could still be sliced more finely.