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‘No Better Time or Place to Focus on Voting Rights’

August 21, 2023

Penn Carey Law welcomes Asst. Prof. Michael Morse C’13, an expert on voting rights and election law, to the faculty.

Michael Morse C’13 has joined the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School as an Assistant Professor of Law. As he settles into his new role, Morse shared that he is “both thrilled and grateful to return home to Penn.” After graduating from the College, Morse earned a JD from Yale Law School and a PhD in political science from Harvard.

“For me,” he said, “joining the faculty at Penn Carey Law is a dream come true.”

Morse studies voting rights, election administration, and the criminal justice system. He also has a secondary appointment in the political science department. In general, his work combines empirical methods and novel administrative data with traditional legal scholarship.

“I think there’s no better time or place to focus on voting rights,” Morse explained, citing the Law School’s unique interdisciplinary focus, his colleagues in the political science department across the street, and Pennsylvania’s recurring status as a battleground state. Morse also looks forward to collaborating with the Quattrone Center for the Fair Administration of Justice.

Morse has already written extensively about the politics of felony disenfranchisement and the impact of fines and fees, including in the Journal of Legal Studies and Quarterly Journal of Political Science. His most recent work on the topic, published in the California Law Review, focused on a Florida ballot initiative, known as Amendment 4, which sought to restore voting rights to people with felony convictions.

Morse has also contributed to current debates about voter access and electoral integrity, evaluating voter identification laws, voter list maintenance, and the extent of double voting in the American Political Science Review, Science Advances, and the Journal of Empirical Legal Studies. Morse’s latest article, forthcoming in the Boston University Law Review, focuses on how states have quietly forged a novel bureaucracy to coordinate voter registration through the Electronic Registration Information Center.

Beyond voting rights and election administration, Morse has studied the election of local prosecutors too, publishing findings in the Iowa Law Review and UC Davis Law Review.

Prior to joining Penn Carey Law, Morse was a Bigelow Fellow at the University of Chicago Law School.

He also previously served as a law clerk to the Honorable Myron Thompson of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama and the Honorable Marsha Berzon of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

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