Every year, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission settles disputes between companies and shareholders as to whether an investor proposal really belongs on the corporate ballot. But after the lengthy government shutdown, companies -- and shareholders -- are wondering if they will get responses in time for annual meetings.

Companies that want to exclude a shareholder proposal usually have to seek approval from the SEC each December and January. In a typical year, the process keeps 15 to 20 percent of proposals from a shareholder vote.

The SEC, though, hasn’t posted any responses to the requests since Dec. 19. There...