By David Noss
CALLAWAY, Md. (Nov. 20, 2008) U.S. Senators Barbara Mikulski (D) and Benjamin Cardin (D), and Representative Steny Hoyer (D-Mechanicsville) have been deluged with requests from constituents for tickets to the Inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama on Jan 20, 2009. But, the requests far outweigh the supply by several orders of magnitude.
Senator Cardin has received nearly 55,000 individual requests for tickets.
Senator Mikulski has received 25,000 individual requests asking for 150,000
tickets. Rep. Hoyer has received approximately 7,000 individual requests.
Sen. Cardin called the number of tickets requested "astronomical" and Sen. Mikulski's press secretary Cassie Harvey said the response was "historic."
All three offices put up forms on their websites for constituents to request tickets. "We were originally taking calls," said Harvey, "but we were just flooded."
The congressmen have not been notified how many tickets they will be allotted, but Sen. Cardin's office is expecting the number to be less than 400 per official. The tickets will be primarily for standing areas on the National Mall.
will allocate tickets to her constituents based on a random drawing, said Harvey. Cardin, in an email to people on his waiting list today, said his office would
also distribute tickets based on a random drawing. Hoyer is still deciding the best manner to distribute his allotment
whether by lottery, based on timing of request, or some other method, said Lundberg.
For those who do not receive congressional tickets to the Inauguration, sections of the National Mall and Inaugural Parade route will be open to the public and will not require tickets. "We expect that large-screen televisions and audio speakers will be placed throughout the Mall so that as many people as possible can hear and see this historic event," wrote Sen. Cardin.
Tickets to the Inauguration are free. eBay, StubHub and Kijiji have banned the sale of tickets on their sites at the request of Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) Feinstein introduced legislation prohibiting the sale and counterfeiting of inaugural tickets on Monday.
"The Inauguration of the President is one of the most important rituals of our democracy. The chance to witness this event should not be bought and sold like tickets to a football game," Senator Feinstein said in a prepared statement Monday.
Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies
Presidential Inaugural Committee (PIC)
Inauguration Rush to Rent Houses May Tweak Maryland Economy, Nov. 17, 2008