At the recent annual meeting of Barnes Group, two of the four board members up for election were rejected (Hartford Courant, May 10 2012). Apparently the top four vote getters get elected, even if there are more votes against them than for them.
Also, according to this article,
Nationwide in 2011, there were more than 16,000 corporate directors up for election, and only 50 failed to get majority support, according to ISS. Nearly all of them stayed on the boards, however, because the boards either had rules like those at Barnes, or if they had a process for rejected board members to tender resignations, the boards didn’t accept their resignations.
If you didn’t already believe that corporate boards are a self-perpetuating merry-go-round, I hope you’ll give the matter some thought.