THE BRONX - Residents in the Bronx and across the nation are vying for coveted tickets to the Jan. 20 inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama, despite the fact that the tickets are not even available yet.

Hundreds of Bronx residents have already signed up on waiting lists through congressional Web sites. However, demand for the free tickets is expected to far exceed supply, and it is not clear how many tickets local members of Congress will have to give out. It also remains unknown how the lucky ticket recipients will be chosen.

In the meantime, lawmakers are trying to prevent online scalping from taking place. The popular auction Web site eBay has already announced that it will not allow inauguration tickets to be sold.

Some Bronx residents say with or without tickets, they intend to attend the historic inauguration of the first black president of the United States. The turnout for the ceremony is expected to reach the record-breaking number of 1 million people.