"Activist Investor" Eric Jackson publishes commentary every Wednesday. Please bookmark TheStreet.com and check back each week for more analysis of shareholder rights issues or click here for an RSS feed.

When Bill Ackman of Pershing Square Capital Management attended Target's ( TGT) annual meeting in suburban Milwaukee last Thursday it was the final culmination of a months-long proxy fight with the company's incumbent board. Although some observers, including me, predicted Ackman's slate would win one or two seats out of the five he was seeking, he came away empty-handed. Target announced at the meeting that all incumbent directors were re-elected with at least 70% of the vote.

The mainstream press immediately declared it a rout against Ackman. "Target Triumphs Over Ackman" said BusinessWeek, "Ackman Misses Target" said the New York Post. The New York Times headline read, "Target Shareholders Strongly Reject Dissident Slate."

But the truth is that the vote was far closer than how Target spun it.

The language from Target's press release includes words like "shareholders appear to have" elected the incumbent directors by a "comfortable" margin. Gregg Steinhafel, Target's chairman, president and CEO, goes on to thank shareholders for their "overwhelming" support of management. Towards the end of the press release, Target suggests it will get around to actually releasing "preliminary" voting results in three to four weeks. Final results will come later, but no timeline was provided. Technically, Target doesn't have to share the final results until the end of August -- 60 days after the end of the quarter in which the annual meeting took place.

I find it insulting to shareholders that companies can get away with not releasing voting results immediately after the meeting. A month ago, Bank of America ( BAC), a much larger company than Target, with more votes to be counted, and also facing a large number of dissenting shareholders, provided a detailed accounting of its tally before 5 p.m. the same day as the meeting. Target gets to drag its feet for three months, while posturing to the press working on deadline that it enjoyed a sizable win.

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