Whole Foods Market (Nasdaq: WFMI) just upped its quotient of progressive corporate-governance policies. Like increasing numbers of other big-name firms, the organic grocer has amended its bylaws to adopt a majority voting standard for its director elections.

Many corporate-governance watchdogs would like to see even more companies follow Whole Foods' lead. The traditional practice of plurality voting isn't exactly fair to shareholders, since it counts only votes for a nominee. Withheld votes (which suffice as a "no") are ignored. Some joker who got just a single "yes" vote could still be elected under that standard.

In addition to majority voting, Whole Foods' board also approved a common follow-on policy that would require any director who does not receive a majority vote to resign immediately.

After the SEC dealt shareholder rights a recent setback by allowing companies to block proxy access, it's nice to see corporations like Whole Foods voluntarily adopting such a shareholder-friendly measure. According to a study obtained by ISS Proxy, 66% of S&P 500 companies made similar board election reforms in 2007, a notable increase from just 16% in 2006. The 400-plus companies to adopt majority voting standards include Dell (Nasdaq: DELL), Intel (Nasdaq: INTC), FedEx (NYSE: FDX), Sara Lee (NYSE: SLE), PG&E (NYSE: PCG), and Pfizer (NYSE: PFE). That said, majority voting only takes place in uncontested elections; for contested elections, plurality voting remains the status quo.

Whole Foods' move may not be enough for some activist shareholders. Last year, Whole Foods faced a shareholder resolution that advocated splitting the chairman and CEO roles, both currently held by founder John Mackey. Breaking up positions like this is a common focus among corporate-governance watchdogs.

I'm glad Whole Foods joined the majority-voting movement; it can only help shareholders, now that they're denied proxy access. The grocer's built its image on a whole spectrum of progressive policies. Slacking off on shareholder-friendly measures would reflect poorly on a company known for looking out for all its stakeholders' interests.

Whole Foods Market, Dell, and FedEx are Motley Fool Stock Advisor picks. Pfizer, Intel, and Dell are Motley Fool Inside Value recommendations. Try out any service free for 30 days.

Alyce Lomax owns shares of Whole Foods Market. The votes are in -- the Fool's disclosure policy is awesome!