Congress made the obvious official Friday. President Barack Obama has been re-elected.
In a joint session, Congress formally certified that Obama and Vice President Joe Biden were the winners in the November election with 332 electoral votes, well more than the 270 required. Republican Mitt Romney and his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, won 206 votes.
It’s a mostly ceremonial — yet constitutionally necessary — vote that’s mostly intriguing to political junkies and policy wonks. The count Friday lacked the suspense of the drawn-out campaign and election but was steeped in tradition.
Biden and about a dozen senators trekked across the Capitol from the Senate to the House chamber, and the vice president joined House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, on the rostrum. Senate pages carried two dark, wooden boxes that contained the results of the electoral votes that had been counted in the state capitals last month. Clerks used silver letter openers to unseal the envelopes.
Taking turns, the leaders of the Senate Rules Committee — Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn. — and the top members of the House Administration Committee — Reps. Candice Miller, R-Mich., and Robert Brady, D-Pa. — read the results from each state. Biden, who presided over the session, announced the final results to applause from the scattering of House and Senate members in the chamber.