Clayton Matt and Janine Padilla both decided to run for their local school board; both are members of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai tribes; and both experienced discrimination while trying to run for a position on the school board, where the vast number of students are Native American. At the time, at-large voting districts diluted the strength of the Native vote, resulting in only one tribal member serving on the school board, ever. We filed a case to uphold the Voting Rights Act and the Constitution in order to guarantee that everyone has equal rights in our democratic process. Matt and Padilla later settled the case upon agreeing to adopt district elections in Lake County. This case was filed concurrently with Alden v. Board of County Commissioners of Rosebud County.

See our original press release.


ACLU's Voting Rights Project, ACLU of Montana, and the Indian Law Resource Center

Date filed

July 7, 1999


U.S. District Court - Montana



Case number