After starting work as a structural builder in the 1970s, another crew member offered him cocaine to stay awake and work long hours. That turned into an addiction, then debt to drug dealers. Then, Harness spent about two years in prison for a forgery conviction in 1986.
And in 2013, he tried to register to vote – and that’s when that forgery came back to haunt him.
In Mississippi, less than 1% of applications from incarcerated people to have their voting rights restored were approved in 2021.
Over half of the 235,152 people who can’t vote in the state because of a felony are Black. Almost 16% of ALL voting-age Black Mississippians are blocked from voting.