Though Obama has gone by the title of president-elect since his Nov. 4 victory, the House and Senate performed the formality of tallying the Electoral College votes in a joint session on Thursday.
Though the certification is a centuries-old ritual with a typically known outcome, this was the first non-contested Electoral College certification since 1996. Individual electors are not bound to vote in line with their states, but no electors deviated from the November returns on Thursday.
In the 2000 presidential election, numerous House members strenuously objected to the slate of electors from Florida, where a recount was cut short by the Supreme Court. But Vice President Al Gore, who lost to President Bush and then presided over the counting of the disputed results, rejected the objections because the House members weren't joined by a Senate sponsor.
Four years ago, Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., joined the late-Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones, D-Ohio, in objecting to Ohio's slate of electors.
After a debate, the House and Senate awarded Ohio's 2004 electoral votes to President Bush.