COLUMBIA — Tickets to President-elect Barack Obama’s inauguration ceremony on Jan. 20 are few and far between for the general public.
A total of 240,000 free tickets were made available to U.S. senators and representatives to distribute to the public upon request. Generally, a person must call a congressional office and ask to be put on a waiting list for tickets.
Those hoping to get tickets from U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill are already too late.
“We are unable to take any more requests because we knew we couldn’t accommodate everyone who wanted a ticket,” Maria Speiser, McCaskill's press secretary, said of the office’s waiting list. “We were allotted several hundred tickets, and within a week and a half after the election, we received about 3,000 requests.”
The office of Rep. Ike Skelton, , confirmed that its waiting list is also closed.
Those already on McCaskill’s waiting list will be selected through a lottery. Those chosen must pick up their tickets in person and should bring a picture ID.
Simply getting one of the coveted tickets doesn’t guarantee a prime viewing seat for the ceremonies. On the lawn, about 30,000 seats will be filled. Most ticketholders will be standing. Anyone still interested in trying to get tickets should contact his or her congressional office.
The Inaugural Committee has said that viewing of the swearing in ceremony will stretch from Capitol Hill to the National Mall, where there will be JumboTron and television monitors.
For those who cannot get tickets for the ceremony, the public is invited to attend the presidential inaugural parade in Washington, D.C., honoring the newly sworn-in president and vice president. The parade runs along Pennsylvania Avenue, and stands and bleachers will extend from Third to 17th streets. The parade is expected to begin at 2:30 p.m., following the swearing in of the president. Early arrival is strongly suggested, according to the presidential inauguration committee’s Web site.