Some luck can get you into Obama's inauguration

(Credit: Urbanite)

By Marlene Naanes

So many New Yorkers want to go Barack Obama’s historic inauguration that Sen. Charles Schumer’s office has already gotten more than 100,000 phone calls from people asking for tickets.

Other elected officials have also reported getting thousands of requests.

Schumer announced yesterday he would hold a statewide Internet lottery to distribute 350 free tickets as fairly as possible.

“The election of Barack Obama caused huge excitement and the excitement continues because it seems just about everybody would like to go to the inauguration,” Schumer said at a news conference yesterday. “When you get so many different requests and hear so many different good reasons there’s no good way to do this other than a lottery, which will be perfectly fair and perfectly democratic.”The opportunities to make money for the tickets are so great eBay and StubHub banned reselling tickets on their sites. Apparently the sites made the move after Sen. Dianne Feinstein heard the tickets were being auctioned for five-figure price tags and began writing legislation to make it a crime to resell them.

Schumer’s office has received 1,000 calls a day asking for inauguration tickets and he said a lottery will prevent selling off tickets by printing the winners’ names on them.

About 240,000 people are expected to attend Obama’s inauguration on Jan. 20 at the U.S. Capitol.

The deadline to apply for Schumer’s lottery is Nov. 30 and the random drawing will be held on Dec. 5. People can ask for one or two tickets through the senator’s Web site, or by fax at 202-228-3027.

The office of Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-Manhattan) has also received thousands of inquiries for tickets so far but it’s unclear how her office will distribute them. Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-Manhattan, Brooklyn) received so many requests by phone that his office set up a special function on its Web site and is also considering a lottery.

“They keep coming in,” said Nadler spokesman Ilan Kayatsky. “There’s definitely been an incredible amount of interest.”

Tags: obama , election , inauguration , politics

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