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The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact is an agreement between several US states to award their electoral college votes to the winner of the national vote. This agreement is designed to only take effect once enough states have ratified it that they have over 50% of the total electoral college electors.

Before the NPVIC comes into effect, electors are pledged to vote for the winner of their state's presidential election. If the NPVIC was ratified after election day and before the day the electoral college votes, what would happen (assuming that the Supreme Court did not judge it an illegal pact)? Would the participating state's electors now vote for the winner of the popular vote, or would they still vote for the candidate they pledged to vote for on election day, so that the NPVIC would functionally only change things for the next presidential election?

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    It says in the Wikipedia link in your question "The compact mandates a July 20 deadline in presidential election years, six months before Inauguration Day, to determine whether the agreement is in effect for that particular election.". Does that cover it or do you mean something else?
    – lx07
    Nov 4 '20 at 10:48
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    @lx07 That paragraph is talking about states leaving the compact, but it probably also applies to states joining, right? It's unlikely to be asymmetrical. I guess that does answer it. Nov 4 '20 at 10:55
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    Not a direct answer to the question, but in practical terms it will rarely make a difference. We are talking about this issue because it happened recently, but historically, the electoral college makeup almost always matched the popular vote. There were only four elections where it didn't (five if you count the ugly backroom deal in 1876). Nov 29 '20 at 4:13
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If the NPVIC was ratified after election day and before the day the electoral college votes, what would happen (assuming that the Supreme Court did not judge it an illegal pact)?

That would mean that the NPVIC would pertain to the next presidential election (the election four years in the future) rather than to the election that just occurred. In fact, if the compact is agreed to in the requisite number of states after July 20 of some presidential election year it will not apply to that election; it will instead apply to the election four years into the future. The rationale is that the NPVIC will impact how and where candidates campaign.

Having the compact agreed to after July 20 in some presidential election may indeed be optimal. This would let the parties know well in advance that the election four years in the future might be very different than the upcoming election, and it would give the inevitably objections to wend their way through the court system.

The worst outcome would not be having the NPVIC ratified between election day and the day before the electoral college votes, or even between July 21 and Election Day. The worst outcome would result from ratifying the compact on July 20 of some presidential election year. That would not provide enough time for the parties to adjust their campaign effects and it would not provide enough time compact to work its way through the courts.

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    I added a link to the text of the NPVIC, the part that answers the question is in the last sentence of Article III. Nov 4 '20 at 13:37

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