The vote comes as other high-technology companies such as Intel, Cisco Systems and others have aggressively. Critics have argued that not expensing options obscures financial results and for the total cost of a company's compensation of its employees.
"The board will continue to carefully deliberate on this matter," Carly Fiorina, chief executive of Palo Alto, Calif.-based HP, said after the tally was announced.
Investor Warren Buffett, the world's second-richest man after Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates, has argued forcefully that companies should be required to treat stock options as an expense. Companies including Coca-Cola, General Electric, Bank of America and others have already said they will expense options.
The HP shareholder vote suggests that the tide could be turning against technology companies in the options expensing battle. As it stands now, companies can choose either to treat options as an expense on its income statement, or they can list their effect on results in a footnote to its financial statements.
HP executives, at the company's annual meeting in Houston, said that about 1.22 billion shares were cast in favor of the measure, about 920 million shares were voted against it, 64 million shares were abstained and 423 million shares were non-votes.
The proposal was made by the Massachusetts Laborers' Pension Fund, which has submitted similar proposals for a vote at other companies in which it is an investor.
The meeting, which was closed to the media, was broadcast over the Internet.