Now we can officially start to call Barack Obama "President-elect" now that the 56th Electoral College has selected him as the country's next chief executive. Before that time, the Obama transition team and news agencies were technically incorrect in labeling the Illinois senator as "elect".
During the General Election, Nov. 4, voters were not directly voting for "Change" or "Country First" but rather for individual state Electors who, today, wound up casting the official vote for President.
The Electoral College might seem a quaint formality but it is one of the safety valves created by the Founding Fathers who, when crafting the framework of this constitutional republic, sought to make the country based on laws and not simple mob rule.
Although it's never come close to happening, in theory the Electoral College could step and overturn the will of the voters in the General Election should someone be elected, by accident or design, who is completely anathema to the good of the country or is unable to constitutionally perform the duties of President.
Realistically speaking, this would probably entail the President-elect trying to irradiate the nation's gold reserves. Or at the very least, being caught on tape trying to get a payoff for the sale of his Senate seat...