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I don't understand this particular use of the gerund yet. To me, such a phrase (the first) sounds more like a person is already voting for John Doe, in the present, not that they will do it in the future. Please explain it to me.

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English has far more tenses, and especially more 'progressive tenses' than other languages.

To a native speaker, "I'm voting for John Doe" feels like the equivalent of "I am going to vote for John Doe", which means "I will vote for John Doe".

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The Purdue Owl 1 identifies such constructions as "the future in relation to the present":

For example, I'm hungry, therefore I'm going to eat.

Consider also these examples of future tense:

I'm going to France in May.

I'm having dinner with Jose on Thursday.

I'm going to college in September.

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It depends where the person who is saying this is at.

Before going to the voting booth -

I will vote for John Doe.

In the voting booth speaking to someone else (probably not legal) -

I am voting for John Doe.

However this can also express an intention before voting, meaning -

I am expecting/planning to vote for John Doe.

Later that day -

I voted for John Doe.

Only the last one is past tense.

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This use of the gerund expresses an immediate future or a future that depends only on your decision.

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The grammar was already well explained. Additionally, they have the same meaning because once the action is finished (the voting), John Doe will have your vote.

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