Tickets to the swearing-in ceremony are free — but you have to request them from your U.S. representative or senator. Best to call his or her Washington office if you haven’t already. THEY DO NOT EXIST YET.
“Any website or ticket broker claiming that they have inaugural tickets is simply not telling the truth,” Howard Gantman, staff director for the the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, said in a release. “Tickets for the swearing-in of President-elect are all provided through members of Congress, and the President-elect and Vice President-elect through the Presidential Inaugural Committee. We urge the public to view any offers of tickets for sale with great skepticism.”
Anyone selling a ticket to, say, the swearing-in ceremony, simply doesn’t have the goods. The 240,000 tickets that have been printed for this event “are in a secure location,” according to the committee.
If you are one of the lucky few to get a ticket when they become available, it’s not illegal to resell your ticket, but it is, well, discouraged. “We can’t stop people from turning around and selling those tickets, but it goes against the spirit of an open public inauguration,” said media spokeswoman Carole Florman. But constituents won’t be able to pick up their tickets until the day before the event — leaving little time for an EBay bidding war.
After all that, even if you are one of the lucky 240,000 who gets a ticket held on the west front of the Capitol building, you may get shut out if the weather tanks. Inclement weather could force the ceremony inside (as it did in 1985 when President Reagan’s inauguration was held inside the Rotunda), dropping the number of spectators from hundreds of thousands to a few hundred.
Everything else: The parade and balls are organized by the Presidential Inaugural Committee, which is just being formed. This committee determines the type of inaugural events to hold, raises private money to fund them and decides how to distribute the tickets
People, there is always television. All the better to watch it with.