Source work and a distinctive survey by Christina Cassidy of the democracy team put AP out front on a story about conspiracy theories prompting Republican election officials to defect from a system that combats voter fraud in the U.S.

Cassidy worked up a quick survey that she sent to the 32 states that were part of the data-sharing system, nicknamed ERIC. Her years of source work on the beat allowed her to get responses from nearly all of them in a matter of days.

Her story scooped a Washington Post story by two days and got a jump on a major spot development days after the enterprise story ran.