The proxy rule changes coming into effect after the coming proxy season are thought to have the effect (possibly intended) of making it easier for activists to place their candidates on Boards of Directors. It is thought that the activists will be helped by the stockholders receiving a single proxy for both the Company and the activist candidates.

Universal ballots, which the SEC proposed in 2016 at the end of the Obama administration, can make it more likely a company will lose some board seats to dissidents, such as activist hedge funds, but less likely they will lose a majority of seats. While universal ballots have long been pushed by activists, they also have gained favor from investor advocates and some companies, which have argued the ballots could improve shareholder democracy.