WINSTON-SALEM, FORSYTH COUNTY -

The U.S. Justice Department is asking a federal judge in North Carolina to put sweeping changes to the state's voting laws on hold through the November election.

The Justice Department argues the Republican-backed measures are designed to suppress turnout at the polls among minorities, the elderly and college students. U.S. District Court Judge Thomas D. Schroeder heard arguments Monday. He did not issue a ruling.

The changes, championed by GOP lawmakers and Gov. Pat McCrory, include requiring voters to present a photo ID and trimmed the early voting period by a week.

North Carolina's law is considered one of the toughest and includes more than two dozen changes. Thirty-four other states have passed laws requiring an ID to vote. Wisconsin and Pennsylvania's version were struck down by judges this year.