The compact has at least one fundamental flaw that should bother even those who are otherwise opposed to the Electoral College: It does nothing to address the 51 sets of currently existing state election codes (all states plus Washington, D.C.). These codes will remain in place and cause confusion and litigation after the bill is enacted.
Today, each state conducts its own presidential election in partial reliance on its own set of local election laws. These laws may differ from those of sister states, but the differences are irrelevant at the national level. At the end of the day, voters in Massachusetts don’t care about the laws governing California’s election. They are voting with (or against) other Massachusetts voters in a contest for Massachusetts’ electors. Similarly, California will hold its own contest. NPV changes this practice. It continues to rely on 51 existing sets of local laws, but it pretends that it can cram all these differing processes into one coherent national outcome. It can’t. The result will be utter chaos.
As one small example, NPV could prevent full recounts from being held. No recount could be conducted, for instance, if no individual state statute was triggered — even if only a few hundred votes separate the top two contenders. Or perhaps a few states could conduct recounts while the rest of the states watch from the sideline. Recounting states may not agree on logistics, such as how to tally a hanging chad. NPV claims that it’s trying to make “every vote equal.” It will not achieve that goal by throwing voters into one pool for election purposes, then allowing their votes to be tallied differently.
These are not the most minor objections. Say different states have different standards for what counts as a vote or not (one thinks of the Florida recount of 2000 here). Under the current order of the Electoral College, as long as those standards are applied consistently within the state, those standards will remain locked within that state.
Under the National Popular Vote plan, however, the standards of one state will bleed into those of another. States with looser standards for what counts as a vote (e.g., a dimpled chad or whatnot) will have their votes count for more than states with more rigorous standards.
Through balancing the diverse structures of each state, the Electoral College does not seek to create a specious uniformity. Through federalist pluralism, it offers a decentralized method of electing the president.