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How to Request Presidential Inauguration Tickets

If you’ve been thinking about going to the inaugural ceremony of the 44th President of the United States [3], wait in line. A week or two ago, scalpers were trying to sell tickets to the inauguration on sites like StubHub and eBay for thousands of dollars. No one told the prospective buyers that tickets hadn’t even been issued yet! In fact, no one has tickets to sell in the first place because they won’t be issued until early January. There are only 240,000 tickets for the West Front of the Capitol, where the inauguration takes place, but most of those seats don’t have much of a view either. 240,000 tickets – not many at all.

How do you get an inauguration ticket? The best thing you can do is submit a request through your state’s Senators and Representatives (each are supposedly getting 200-500 a piece), though that likely will not result in much as they’ve all been inundated with requests. Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland, one of the Senators I requested tickets from, recently emailed me to say that they received 55,000 requests already and they are estimated to get only 400 tickets (some of which they will likely keep for themselves). All the names will be put into a drawing and winners notified in January.

While people recommend you locate the Senator and Representative representing your district, it probably doesn’t hurt to just ask them all. I don’t think it’d be worth it to ask those outside your home state though.

Expanding the area: The Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, the committee overseeing the inaugural, is looking into expanding the number of people allowed [6] in the official inaugural zone (that 240k area). We’ll see how that goes.

If all else fails, you can always go to the National Mall and try to catch the inauguration on a huge Jumbotron. You won’t need tickets to go to the National Mall but you will have to fight with huge crowds just to get there. Most will be traveling by mass transit, probably the Metro train system, so good luck. If you aren’t a fan of crowds (just to see it on a Jumbotron, no less), you can always just flip on the TV.

However you ultimately choose to view the inaugural, it’ll be historic all the same.

(Photo: martinstelbrink [7])