Voters in Missouri’s 8th Congressional District in southeast Missouri elected their choice for a seat in the U.S. House Tuesday. That is, a handful of voters showed up at the polls to send state Rep. Jason Smith, Republican, to Washington, D.C.

To put it bluntly, voter turnout was miserable!

Only 13 percent of the registered voters took the time to vote. The 8th Congressional District has nearly 485,000 registered voters. Fewer than 63,000 cast ballots.

Yes, it was a special election to fill a vacancy caused by the resignation of veteran Rep. Jo Ann Emerson, who resigned in January for a lucrative job offer. Special elections usually have a low turnout of voters.

What will it take to make Missourians and Americans more mindful of their responsibility to participate in the democratic process in this republic? We know nothing about Smith’s qualifications, except that he’s a conservative. If we were in his shoes, we would feel a bit uneasy as to voter confidence. We wish him well. We are in the 3rd Congressional District and if we had a special election to elect a U.S. representative, the voter turnout may have been about the same as in southeast Missouri.

Because of this lack of attention to what is going on and the people we elect, Americans deserve what they are getting in government.