Case Study: Mobile App Updates for TN’s Secretary of State

Plan Left used Google’s Firebase API on a Laravel framework to improve the functionality of notification and messaging features on the TSOS (Tennessee Secretary of State) mobile app

Project Highlights

→ The State of Tennessee contracted Plan Left to add push notifications and messaging capabilities to an already established mobile application.  


→ Simplifying the app’s database and content storage system increased processing speed and decreased data usage for mobile app users


→ An updated UI and content management system improved overall UX for admins and users


→ Plan Left’s update allows messaging to authorized Elections and Communications users


→ The app’s updated push notifications functionality made it easier for officials to share critical announcements on a more direct platform than social media posting or press releases


→ The mobile app meets state and federal regulatory and compliance standards for privacy and security of election data transfers 


→ Plan Left delivered a mobile app update that met and exceeded specifications 


Through resourcefulness, dedication, and unmatched industry knowledge, Plan Left delivered a mobile app update that sets a new standard for state-owned digital communications.

The Challenge

The Tennessee Secretary of State mobile app built for Apple iOS and Android allowed users to look up polling locations, candidate lists, and other voting/elections-related information. Unfortunately, the app had no push capabilities. Extensive modification of the app was needed to enable push notifications, used to send critical notifications and announcements to authorized Elections and Communications users.


Additional challenges presented, including integration of client-provided APIs that required state regulatory and compliance standards.

The Solution

Plan Left’s answer to the TSOS notification problem was to build a mobile app update that delivered increased functionality, better usability, and smarter data storage. Our mobile app development team built custom feature-sets based on interviews and design briefs provided by the client. These feature sets include

  • A new messaging interface and platform
  • Reliable message delivery
  • Customizable push notifications
  • Location-based notifications
  • Better data storage parameters to reduce user’s cellular data
  • A beautiful UI and mobile application theme


→ Using a Laravel base, the initial development of the app would be made easier through the use of developer tools which could speed development for cost and time savings. 


→ The developed app would utilize the existing relationship between Google and The State of Tennessee with the message delivery service provided by Google Firebase. This app development could also include a web-facing version built on a Laravel framework.

The Result

Tennessee’s Secretary of State received an updated app interface that met modern UI/UX design standards, as well as team augmentation for training, onboarding support, and DevOps assistance for implementation. 


The standalone Laravel app provided content management capabilities that included user roles and permissions, push notifications, message scheduling, and queue status for content. 


This specialized content management system allowed for the creation of a single database to which information in various formats from several databases could be transformed, sanitized, and migrated for ease of access to decades of documents, complete with edits and revision history.


Because the app was built on an open-source Ionic platform, The State could enjoy cross-platform compatibility and a lower cost of development and ownership.

TNSOS Composite

The Bottom Line

By turning our experts into their experts, the TN Secretary of State gained more than a groundbreaking mobile app development. Through Plan Left’s training and team augmentation services, the TSOS office is better equipped to serve Tennessee’s constituents, residents, and voters.

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