The political and economic crises of 1994 provoked another stage of electoral reforms. The first significant reform occurred in 1996 as part of an unprecedented negotiation between the government and opposition parties to finalize a significant electoral reform that would allow the country to make a qualitative leap towards democracy. The result was a package of reforms that were reflected in the Federal Code of Electoral Institutions and Procedures (COFIPE) of 1996. The COFIPE included an eighth transitory article specifically designed to open the possibility of voting from abroad. The transition established as a requirement to vote the creation of a new Federal Register of Electors, a new National Identity Card and a technical study on the viability of the migrant vote. The Ministry of the Interior was responsible for complying with the first two requirements and the new Federal Electoral Institute (IFE) with the third. The 1996 reforms also included a modification to the Constitution, eliminating the territorial requirement to vote.

Two years later, none of the three requirements had been met and time was quickly running out to pass an electoral reform that would take effect for the 2000 presidential election. Migrant activists organized innovative lobbying campaigns with political party leaders , representatives of the Presidency, legislators, the IFE and the press, in order to persuade and pressure the authorities. In April 1998, the first legislative work began aimed at unblocking the situation and initiatives were presented to advance in the instrumentation of the migrant vote and ensure that the requirements established by COFIPE were met. The IFE created a commission of specialists to fulfill its responsibility and in November released a study on the technical feasibility of voting abroad. Among other things, the study reported that this was possible and that it would potentially benefit 10.7 million Mexicans abroad. Likewise, it was indicated that there were dozens of possible modalities of voting, from traditional voting booths to electronic voting and by mail.

The IFE report established the conditions for the legislative power to develop a reform that would make it possible to vote. However, the opposition of the Federal Executive and the State party did not allow any reform to be approved in time to vote in the 2000 presidential election. An unusual transnational lobbying campaign by migrant activists did not bear fruit at that time.

The PRI’s defeat in the 2000 election changed the country’s political scene. However, in the years following that election, the legislature continued to neglect matters concerning migrants, despite various lobbying attempts, both from previously involved migrant organizations and from new leaders who joined the new Advisory Council of the Institute. of Mexicans Abroad. 18 initiatives were presented in the legislative power but it was not until 2005 that one of them was finally approved, which was promoted by the PRI faction in the Senate. This was late and modest, but it was the initiative on which the political agreement necessary for its approval was built.

The reform was limited to allowing voting by certified mail to those who already had a voter card. Campaigns abroad were prohibited and there was no will to allow credentialing outside the national territory. The IFE calculated that 4.5 million Mexicans abroad had valid credentials, representing the potential universe of voters.