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WASHINGTON, DC - Jan. 08: A parade of pages -- carrying two heavy wooden boxes to the House chamber, each containing sealed envelopes of Electoral College votes for president and vice president -- marches through Statuary Hall on the way to the House chamber for a joint session to count the ballots. It's official: Democrat Barack Obama has been elected the 44th president of the United States, defeating Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona in a formal count of electoral votes. In a joint session Thursday, Congress determined that Obama and Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr., D-Del., were elected president and vice president, respectively. Obama received 365 electoral votes to 173 for McCain. Likewise, Biden received 365 electoral votes to 173 for McCain's running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. The vote counting ceremony is both necessary and ritualistic: Article II, Section 1, of the Constitution and the 12th Amendment require Congress to tally the votes and determine the winners. (Photo by Scott J. Ferrell/Congressional Quarterly)

WASHINGTON, DC - Jan. 08: A parade of pages -- carrying two heavy wooden boxes to the House chamber, each containing sealed envelopes of Electoral College votes for president and vice president -- marches through Statuary Hall on the way to the House chamber for a joint session to count the ballots. It's official: Democrat Barack Obama has been elected the 44th president of the United States, defeating Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona in a formal count of electoral votes. In a joint...
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