Fourteen per cent of the 104,293 signatures collected by the hunters’ federation to block the spring hunting referendum may not tally with the electoral register, according to an exercise carried out by The Sunday Times of Malta.

The signatures, presented in Parliament last month, call on MPs to amend the Referenda Act to stop votes from “impinging on minority groups’ rights and practices”.

A random sample study of 1,000 signatures found 137 ID card numbers listed on the petition did not correspond with the list of those eligible to vote in last month’s European Parliament election.

More than eight per cent of the signatories, 81, did not exist on the electoral register.

These include third country nationals, minors and those stripped of the right to vote.

Nearly five per cent of the signatories ­– 49 – were listed under different names on the electoral register and petition but had the same ID number.

One such ID number was listed beside a signature for a Mr G. Zammit on the petition. However, when cross-checked against the electoral records, the identification belonged to a woman residing in a home called Hunters’ Nest.

Contacted to confirm whether she had signed the petition, the woman declined to comment.

Once the number of ‘illegitimate’ signatures are removed, FKNK’s petition would still remain the largest collected, with some 90,000 people having signed.

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