In 1972, because of unequal representation based on population, the Yates County Legislature became the County Governing body, replacing the nine member Board of Supervisors that had been in existence for 149 years. The nine Towns are divided into four legislative Districts represented by fourteen Legislators who are elected for two years. The local law creating the Legislature contains a provision that any elected Town Supervisor, Town Councilman, Village Mayor or Village Trustee may also be elected as a County Legislator. There are presently two elected Town Supervisors, one elected Village Mayor, one elected Village Trustee and one elected Town Councilman who are also serving as elected Legislators.
The Legislature holds an organization meeting every two years and members elect a Chairman and Vice Chairman. The Chairman appoints members to the five standing committees and as representatives to various boards and agencies. Each member serves on two of the standing committees.