Link Ellison bill would outlaw photo ID requirements for voters in federal elections In a challenge to the Bush administration, Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., introduced legislation Wednesday that would ban photo identification as a requirement for voting in federal elections. By Kevin Diaz, Star Tribune WASHINGTON - In a challenge to the Bush administration, Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., introduced legislation Wednesday that would ban photo identification as a requirement for voting in federal elections. Ellison's bill reflects the Minnesota practice, which does not require photo ID for the purpose of voter verification. Ellison has a companion bill that mirrors the state's law allowing eligible voters to register for federal elections on Election Day. Ellison's voting initiative comes after an uproar surrounding the statement of a top Justice Department official addressing charges by civil rights activists that photo ID requirements discriminate against minorities, senior citizens or young people. John Tanner, chief of the Justice Department's Voting Rights Division, acknowledged that many elderly Americans don't have photo IDs but added: "Our society is such that minorities don't become elderly the way that white people do. They die first." Studies have shown that blacks have a shorter life expectancy than whites in America. But under questioning this week from Ellison and other members of a House Judiciary subcommittee on constitutional law and civil rights, Tanner apologized for "the hurtful" tone of his statement, made at the National Latino Congreso in Los Angeles. Ellison and other civil rights attorneys contend that photo IDs can impose a burdensome requirement on low-income voters, particularly minorities and the elderly. "While photo IDs seem harmless, they are in fact the modern-day poll tax," Ellison said, referring to the practice, extensively used in the South during the Jim Crow era, of imposing poll taxes to discourage black people from voting. In 1964, Congress ratified the 24th Amendment, which banned poll taxes.