Electrochemical techniques, coupled with in situ scanning tunneling microscopy, have been used to examine the mechanism of CO oxidation and the role of surface structure in promoting CO oxidation on well-ordered and disordered Pt(111) in aqueous NaOH solutions. Oxidation of CO occurs in two distinct potential regions: the prepeak (0.25-0.70 V) and the main peak (0.70 V and higher). The mechanism of reaction is Langmuir-Hinshelwood in both regions, but the OH adsorption site is different. In the prepeak, CO oxidation occurs through reaction with OH that is strongly adsorbed at defect sites. Adsorption of OH on defects at low potentials has been verified using charge displacement measurements. Not all CO can be oxidized in the prepeak, since the Pt-CO bond strength increases as the CO coverage decreases. Below θCO = 0.2 monolayer, CO is too strongly bound to react with defect-bound OH. Oxidation of CO at low coverage occurs in the main peak through reaction with OH adsorbed on (111) terraces, where the Pt-OH bond is weaker than on defects. The enhanced oxidation of CO in alkaline media is attributed to the higher affinity of the Pt(111) surface for adsorption of OH at low potentials in alkaline media as compared with acidic media.