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Nathaniel Persily

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Nathaniel Persily is the James B. McClatchy Professor of Law at Stanford Law School, with appointments in the departments of Political Science, Communication, and FSI.  Prior to joining Stanford, Professor Persily taught at Columbia and the University of Pennsylvania Law School, and as a visiting professor at Harvard, NYU, Princeton, the University of Amsterdam, and the University of Melbourne. Professor Persily’s scholarship and legal practice focus on American election law or what is sometimes called the “law of democracy,” which addresses issues such as voting rights, political parties, campaign finance, redistricting, and election administration. He has served as a special master or court-appointed expert to craft congressional or legislative districting plans for Georgia, Maryland, Connecticut, New York, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania.  He also served as the Senior Research Director for the Presidential Commission on Election Administration. In addition to dozens of articles (many of which have been cited by the Supreme Court) on the legal regulation of political parties, issues surrounding the census and redistricting process, voting rights, and campaign finance reform, Professor Persily is coauthor of the leading election law casebook, The Law of Democracy (Foundation Press, 5th ed., 2016), with Samuel Issacharoff, Pamela Karlan, and Richard Pildes. His current work, for which he has been honored as a Guggenheim Fellow, Andrew Carnegie Fellow, and a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, examines the impact of changing technology on political communication, campaigns, and election administration.  He is codirector of the Stanford Cyber Policy Center, Stanford Program on Democracy and the Internet, and Social Science One, a project to make available to the world’s research community privacy-protected Facebook data to study the impact of social media on democracy.  He is also a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a commissioner on the Kofi Annan Commission on Elections and Democracy in the Digital Age.  Along with Professor Charles Stewart III, he recently founded HealthyElections.Org (the Stanford-MIT Project on a Healthy Election) which aims to support local election officials in taking the necessary steps during the COVID-19 pandemic to provide safe voting options for the 2020 election. He received a B.A. and M.A. in political science from Yale (1992); a J.D. from Stanford (1998) where he was President of the Stanford Law Review, and a Ph.D. in political science from U.C. Berkeley in 2002.