Re: Lack of a secret ballot is a greater problem
Whilst it would be possible for a nasty government to go through the ballot and work out exactly how people voted, it would be a hell of a lot of work. Easier to just use the canvassing returns to plan retribution. [although, having said that, I do hope the referendum ballots are still available so that we can work out who gets the one-way ticket to West Falkland]
Anyway, the normal use of the numbering is as follows:
1) If someone turns up to vote and they appear to have voted already (they are crossed off the list) then they are given a pink ballot paper which goes in a separate envelope.
2) When the votes are counted, if the result is very close, i.e. majority less than the number of pink papers, the original papers are identified and removed, and the pink ones counted in their place. It's a lot of work!
I've seen pink papers used. I was acting as Polling Clerk and a little old lady came in. She'd been crossed off. Oh shit! Have we made a mistake? Then went through the pile of polling cards and found her card. Someone had used it. Had she already voted? No, but she had last month. Previous election was over a year ago. Dementia? Anyway she got the pink paper.