The state of Alaska on Wednesday will announce the results of a special Aug. 16 election to fill its only seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, with the three-way race coming down to the wire between Republican former Governor Sarah Palin and Democrat Mary Peltola.

The election is the first one run under the state's new ranked choice system, with voters listing candidates in order of preference on the ballot.

Palin, who served as governor of Alaska from 2006 to 2009, is widely known for her unsuccessful vice presidential run with John McCain in 2008. She is seen as having helped open the door to a more far-right wing of the Republican Party.

Her campaign for Alaska's sole U.S. House seat is her first foray back into politics.

Peltola, a former state lawmaker, would be the first Native American woman to represent Alaska in Congress.

She has maintained a lead against Palin as votes have been tallied, but a candidate must clear 50% of the vote to be declared the winner.

The special election was called after the death of Representative Don Young, 88, who was first elected in 1973.

The Alaska Board of Elections will begin livestreaming the count at 4 p.m. Alaska time.

The winner of the special election will serve out Young's term, which expires at the end of this year. Palin, Peltola and Republican Nick Begich III will vie in a Nov. 8 election to fill the seat for the next two years.