Nate Persily’s scholarship focuses on voting rights, political parties, campaign finance, redistricting, and election administration. His current work, for which he has been honored as an Andrew Carnegie and CASBS fellow (class of 2017-18), examines the impact of changing technology on political communication, campaigns, and election administration. He is currently writing a book expanding on the subject he explored in a recent article in the Journal of Democracy, “Can Democracy Survive the Internet?” In addition, he currently co-chairs Social Science One (with Harvard professor and former CASBS board of directors member Gary King), an international effort to examine the impact of social media on democracy by providing Facebook data, in a secure, privacy-protected format, to social scientists around the world.
Persily is the James B. McClatchy Professor of Law at Stanford Law School, with appointments in the departments of political science, communication, and the Freeman Spogli Institute. He also is the founding co-director of the Stanford Cyber Policy Center and (with Frank Fukuyama) the Project on Democracy and the Internet. He also serves on the Kofi Annan Commission on Elections and Democracy in the Digital Age. He is co-author of the leading election law casebook, The Law of Democracy (Foundation Press, 2016). He has served as a special master or court-appointed expert to craft legislative districting plans for many states, as the senior research director for the Presidential Commission on Election Administration, and on a panel of the National Academy of Sciences evaluating the state of U.S. voting technology. He received a BA/MA in political science from Yale University, a JD from Stanford University where he was president of the Stanford Law Review, and a PhD in political science from the University of California, Berkeley. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Persily is also co-director of the Stanford-MIT Healthy Elections Project (HealthyElections.Org), which works with election officials to adapt the infrastructure of the 2020 election to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.